Ha-ha, probably early C19 with a late C19/early C20 footbridge addition.
Reason for Listing
The ha-ha with footbridge in the grounds of Boughton Mount is listed for the following principal reasons:
* Date: early C19 date from map evidence;
* Monumental Scale: it rises to ten feet in height on the south side, very high for a ha-ha wall;
* Intactness: it survives substantially intact with the additional interest of an Edwardian green sandstone footbridge over the ditch;
* Group Value: it has group value with the folly in the grounds of Boughton Mount;
* Historic interest; it is a surviving garden feature from Boughton Mount which was one of the principal seats in Boughton Monchelsea from at least the C16. Since the fire destroyed the main house it is one of the only reminders of Boughton Mount's long and interesting history and connection with John Braddick and George Foster Clark, two prominent local figures.
Volume 5 of Edward Hasted's The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent' (published in 1798) mentions Boughton Mount, formerly called Wychden, as a seat in Boughton Monchelsea which was the property of John Alchorne of Aylesford in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. By 1798 the property was in the occupation of E. J. Foote, Esq. of the Royal Navy.
In the early C19 the estate was owned by John Braddick, who had made a fortune out of the slave trade. He was reputed to have fattened up the slaves in his cellars for sale on the London auction block. The estate was still owned by the Braddick family in the 1890s.
In 1901 the estate was bought by George Foster Clark, who had founded a Maidstone factory which manufactured custard powder. He became Mayor of Maidstone in 1916. His son Eric, an observer with the Royal Flying Corps, was killed in a plane crash on Ist January 1917. George Foster Clark declined a knighthood from Stanley Baldwin in 1925 and the family bequeathed much of their land for educational purposes, including Boughton Mount.
The ha-ha situated to the south of the main house is not shown on the Ordnance Survey drawing of 1797 but appears on the Tithe Map for Boughton Monchelsea. The map is not dated but the Tithe Award is dated 1842. It is shown on the First Edition six inch Ordnance Survey map of 1870 and appears also on the 1885 and 1897 25 inch sheets without change. However, by the 1908 Third Edition 25 inch map of 1908 a bridge is shown for the first time crossing the ditch and wall and a path is shown along the boundaries of the land to the south of the house.
The main house, whether the building mentioned by Hasted or a successor on the same site, was lost in a fire shortly after the Second World War. In the 1970s a Special School and Adult Training Centre was built on the site but these buildings became disused in the first decade after the millennium.
A ha-ha, probably of early C19 date, shown on Tithe Map for Boughton Monchelsea and built by the Braddick family. A bridge was added between 1897 and 1908 towards the western end.
MATERIALS: built of squared Kentish ragstone blocks from local quarries with green sandstone balustrades to the bridge.
PLAN: the ha-ha wall is elliptical on plan and was sited to the south-east of the main house forming a boundary to the upper lawn. Later a bridge was added over the ditch on the south side towards the western end.
DESCRIPTION: the ha-ha wall reaches a height of approximately ten feet (3m) on the south side, is battered towards the base, and has stone steps at the sides leading down to the ditch. Formerly there was a stone balustrade but this is no longer visible. Towards the western end is a flat-arched bridge over the ditch with stone balusters, carved stone coping, carved stone end piers and central stone supporting piers.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.