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National Trust Ightham Mote

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Superb 14th-century moated manor house, has features including the Great Hall, chapels, extensive garden & interesting walks in the surrounding woodland.

Originally dating to around 1320, the building is of note as its successive owners effected relatively few changes to the main structure for the 650 years it was occupied. It was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1985 by an American businessman, Charles Henry Robinson, who had bought it in 1956. The house is now a Grade I listed building, and parts of it are a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

There are over 70 rooms in the house, all arranged around a central courtyard. The earliest structures on the site include the Great Hall, the Chapel, Crypt and two Solars. The courtyard was completely enclosed and the battlemented tower constructed in the 15th century. The structures include unusual and distinctive elements, such as the Porter’s squint, designed to enable a gatekeeper to examine a visitor’s credentials before opening the gate, and a large kennel which was built in the late 19th century for a St. Bernard named Dido. The kennel is the only Grade I listed dog house.

It therefore remains a snapshot of how such houses would have looked in the Middle Ages. Nikolaus Pevsner called it “the most complete small medieval manor house in the country”. During the 19th century a female skeleton was found walled up behind a blocked service door.

In 1989 the National Trust began an ambitious restoration project which involved dismantling much of the building and recording its construction methods before rebuilding it. The project ended in 2004 after uncovering numerous examples of structural and ornamental features which had been covered up by later additions. It is estimated to have cost in excess of

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