The Forge Lodges, including attached gate piers, are a pair of c1835 lodges to Mote Park, built in a rustic Greek revival style; they front a yard of subsidiary semi-agricultural estate buildings, now in residential occupation, which are not included in the listing.
Reason for Listing
The Forge Lodges at Mote Park, Maidstone, c1835, are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: executed in rough Kentish rag stone, they marry vernacular material quality with an austere classicism to form a fine and distinctive pair;
* Historic and group interest: situated on the perimeter of the Grade II registered Mote Park, they are unusual both for fronting a small complex of estate buildings, and as being the park's most architecturally interesting, and only paired, lodges.
Mote Park was imparked in the C14, making it one of the earliest deer parks in Kent. The park and grounds went through successive phases of remodelling, particularly during the C18 when it was in the hands of the Barons of Romney. Between 1793 and 1811 the 3rd Baron (cr 1st Earl of Romney in 1801), oversaw the rebuilding of the house in the north-east of the park, and landscaping works which included the extension of the park and the laying out of new drives. Between c1839 and 1845 the 2nd Earl undertook a further phase of expansion and landscaping.
The exact date of the Forge Lodges is uncertain. However, evidence suggests a date of the mid to late 1830s, whereas maps show that the south drive, which was entered between the Forge Lodges, predates this. The lodges and the complex of estate buildings to their immediate north appear on the tithe map of 1838-41, but are not shown on the earlier Greenwood map of 1821. It is understood that one of the buildings in the complex to the north of the lodges was originally a forge, hence the name given to the lodges.
The new Mote House (listed Grade II*) was built 1793-1801 to the designs of Daniel Asher Alexander (1768-1846). It has been speculated that the Forge Lodges could be the work of Alexander, or that of John Whichcord Snr, a former pupil of Alexander's and a notable local architect. The Forge Lodges are certainly the most distinctive of all the park's lodges, although they share some architectural detailing with a few of the others, suggesting they may be of a similar date, and by the same hand. Albeit on a much smaller scale, and in a pared-down form, the Forge Lodges do exhibit the austere classicism found in buildings such as Alexander's Maidstone Gaol, 1808-1811, and Whichcord's Oakwood Hospital, Maidstone, 1833 (both listed at Grade II).
The Forge Lodges are a pair of c1835 lodges to Mote Park, built in a rustic Greek revival style.
MATERIALS: the buildings are of rag stone block construction with brick chimney stacks and pitched slated roofs. Windows are side-hung timber casements of likely C20 date.
PLAN: the lodges flank the entrance to what was the south drive. They are one-and-a-half-storeys high, with porticoed fronts; they are one bay wide, and three bays deep. Between the buildings are two square rag stone gate piers with pyramidal caps, linked to the lodges by rag stone walls.
EXTERIOR: the principal elevations of the lodges face out of the park to the south. The gable ends of the shallow pitched roofs form the pediment over a simple entablature and arcade of four square columns with very simple two-step capitals. The recessed frontages beneath the porticos have a pilaster to either side and a central timber door. The west lodge has had a window inserted in the pediment. The long east and west elevations have a first-floor storey band and a two-step eaves cornice. The opposing east and west elevations of the two lodges (those facing onto the drive), have a range of three ground-floor windows, with a first-floor window added to the east lodge. To the rear the lodges have a single window at basement, ground, and first floor levels. The east and west elevations facing onto the buildings' respective gardens have three windows to the first floor (two on the west lodge have been blocked), a side door, and a ground-floor window. Both lodges have a single-storey, pitch-roofed store attached to the garden elevation, that to the west lodge being continuous in footprint with the range of stores adjoining it to the north. Both lodges have a substantial yellow brick ridge stack at the centre of the roof.
INTERIOR: only the west of the two lodges was inspected internally; the interior is largely modernised, with some surviving historic joinery of a modest nature, making the interior of lesser special interest.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.