Rectory Park 2779

Horsmonden, England, Kent, Tunbridge Wells

Brief Description

Rectory Park has a garden and small park associated with the 15th-century 'Wealden Hall' style house, which has 17th century additions. The gardens feature a fish pond, three Victorian lodges, mature trees and a large kitchen garden.

Detailed Description

A 1.2 hectare lake to the north-east of the house was created in about 1800 during the agricultural depression. This can be seen from the house and contains coarse fish.

There are three Victorian lodges at entrances to the parkland. A road through the park is only about 50 years old. Previously the only road access was from the church.

The walls are pre-William and Mary, of rather soft brick and are partially collapsed, revealing an interesting system of heating the walls. The land slopes from south to north and is therefore good for fruit trees and other crops, but there are problems of soil slip, and the Victorian drainage system becomes clogged up.

The rose garden adjoins the kitchen garden below the stable. There is an attractive walled garden with beds and grass paths within Georgian walls. The Italian fountain which was the central feature was removed in 1988 by the vendor.

A rock garden created in 1860 from stone from ‘the church' is now largely a heather garden and a Victorian shrubbery below the kitchen garden contains many very old evergreens. The ‘Sissinghurst' scented poplars which used to be here have had to be removed, as the nearby walls were showing signs of stress from the action of the tree roots.

Features
  • Stable Block
  • Description: A Queen Anne stable block remains between the house and the kitchen garden.
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: A 'Wealden Hall' style house, with alterations made in the 17th century.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Lake
  • Description: A 1.2 hectare lake to the north-east of the house was created in about 1800 during the agricultural depression. This can be seen from the house and contains coarse fish.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Gate Lodge
  • Description: There are three Victorian lodges at entrances to the parkland
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Specimen Tree
  • Description: The parkland was created from Wealden forest, and therefore has many ancient oaks.
  • Specimen Tree
  • Description: A Magnolia grandiflora is of a considerable age, as it is shown, already well grown, on Victorian photographs.
  • Rose Garden
  • Description: The rose garden adjoins the kitchen garden below the stable. There is an attractive walled garden with beds and grass paths within Georgian walls.
Kitchen Garden
Access & Directions

Directions

The site is 1 mile north of the A262, about 7 miles east of centre of Tunbridge Wells. It is 1.5 miles south of the village of Horsmonden.
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Horsmonden
History

Detailed History

The house was originally a 15th-century Wealden Hall House, which was converted and enlarged by 1700. At this time the house was associated with a small park and a large kitchen garden to the west of the house. A Queen Anne stable block remains between the house and the kitchen garden. In earlier times it was a very large estate, but towards the end of the last century it contracted, and in the 20th century all the outlying farms were sold off.

The parkland was created from Wealden forest, and therefore has many ancient oaks. Although many older trees were lost in the 1987 storm, the last owner, the late Judge Glazebrook, carried out a considerable replanting programme from 1953-1987. This was not always well done so a certain amount of rationalising has occurred. The new owners are continuing to protect young trees from grazing animals, and they have also planted up new spinneys. Fifteen hectares of chestnut woodland has been managed for commercial timber production.

There was much planting in the immediate vicinity of the house in the 1940s. A Magnolia grandiflora is of a considerable age, as it is shown, already well grown, on Victorian photographs. In fact there is much Victorian planting, including the usual shrubbery plants of laurel and box. There are several very old shrubs including rhododendrons and Rosa banksia.

References

References

  • Kent County Council Planning Department {The Kent Gardens Compendium} (Canterbury: Kent County Council, 1996) 130The Kent Gardens Compendium