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Hemsted House Benenden School Including Attached Terrace Wall, Benenden

Description: Hemsted House Benenden School Including Attached Terrace Wall

Grade: II
Date Listed: 28 November 1986
English Heritage Building ID: 170125

OS Grid Reference: TQ8024633803
OS Grid Coordinates: 580246, 133803
Latitude/Longitude: 51.0752, 0.5716

Location: Benenden, Kent TN17 4AA

Locality: Benenden
Local Authority: Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
County: Kent
Country: England
Postcode: TN17 4AA

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Listing Text

1350-0/3/18 Hemsted House Benenden School
28/11/86 including attached Terrace Wall
Benenden School main building, formerly large gentleman's
residence. Built 1859-62 by David Brandon for Gathorne Hardy,
later Earl of Cranbrook, in Elizabethan style. Substantially
altered by the additions of crenellated battlements, the
removal of the original spire to tower, addition of oriel
windows and rear loggia by Lord Rothermore c.1912. Built of
red brick in Flemish bond with some black brick diaperwork and
stone dressings. Tiled roof with clustered brick
chimneystacks. Roughly rectangular main house with projecting
entrance porch and tower of 3 storeys and attics with attached
rectangular service wing of 2 storeys. Front elevation of
house has 2 gables with square bays through 3 storeys having
6-light mullions and transomed windows, insertions by Lord
Rothermore cutting across earlier diaperwork. Projecting off
central entrance porch of 3 storeys with 2 storey oriel window
having stone panels with shields between storeys and Tudor
arched doorway below with fabulous beasts in spandrels and
studded door. To left of this is tall 6 light staircase
window. On right hand side is 4 storey square tower with
crenellated parapet. 1,2 & 3 light mullioned windows with hood
moulding and smaller arched doorcase with hood moulding and
fabulous beasts in spandrels below. The whole has crenellated
parapet and there are 3 groups of 6 Tudor style chimneystacks.
Decorative lead rainwater heads. Attached 2 storey service
wing has mullioned and transomed casements with leaded lights
and clock face. Garden front to main house is symmetrical of 3
storeys and attics with 5 windows. End gables with 3 storey
6-light canted bays crenellated above. Centre has crenellated
parapet, moulded stone cornice and 3 mullioned and transomed
windows, the centre one with 4 lights the end ones with 3.
Centre ground floor has recessed loggia in lighter coloured
stone with strapwork motif cornice, supported on 4 Tuscan
columns and 2 pilasters with strapwork design to base,
probably one of Lord Rothermore's alterations since David
Brandon's original plan shows a loggia with 6 columns and 2
pilasters, square on plan. To left of this is the 4 storey
tower with crenellated parapet and one 3 light mullioned and
transomed casement. Ground floor has 4 centred arch with
shield above, formerly the luggage entrance. 2 ranges of Tudor
style brick chimneystacks. Attached to left is 2 storey
service wing of 6 bays. End gables with 7 light canted bays,
crenellated above, and centre section-with crenellated parapet
and four 3 light mullioned and transomed windows. Clustered
chimneystacks and lead rainwater heads. Further 2 storey
portion to left, probably a Rothermore alteration in similar
style, followed by a Neo-Georgian extension of 1961-5 by T.E.
Heysham. Attached to the garden front a terraced wall of 1862.
Battered brick base of 7 courses with stone wall of
interlocking circles with square piers decorated with diamond
motifs at regular intervals. Opposite the centre of the garden
front are 2 large square piers with diamond motifs supporting
eleborate stone urns with floral swags. Interior: Porch has
late C19 wide linenfold panelling and chamfered spine beam
with lamb's tongue stops. Staircase hall has fine well
staircase, probably by David Brandon, with curved shields and
other emblems of battle. Plaster ceiling of square panels.
Armorial glass to staircase window, some of which is German or
Flemish. Large stone armorial fireplace with motto BENE QUI
Under the staircase is a late C19 inserted cloakroom with
tesselated tiling. Library which was extended in 1920 and has
a fine plastered ceiling with strapwork design and deep
plastered cornice with stags, cornucopiae and doves. Stone
fireplace with blank shields in the spandrels and Tudor rose
and diamond frieze. Wooden arched and pilastered overmantel
above. Former Drawing Room (now Girls' Common Room) is
decorated in Edwardian Queen Anne style. It has deep oak
panelling, 2 panelled doors and carved pedimented doorcase
with swags. Plaster ceiling with deeply carved plaster floral
wreath. Marble fire place. Above this are 2 deeply carved
swags with cherubs which could be early C18. Girls' study,
formerly Saloon is also decorated in early C20 Queen Anne
style. Deep eaves cornice with floral wreath. 8 panelled doors
with bolection moulding and elaborate eared architraves, dado
panelling. Marble fireplace. Some carving above it could be
C18. Hemstead House Study, formerly Dining Room has some
genuine early C17 plank and muntin panelling copied to panel
entire room. Fluted composite pilasters and panels of
strapwork decoration. Elaborate pictorial plastered and
coloured frieze with pastoral scenes; boar hunting, herding
sheep, resting in the meadows and hawking. Early C20 stone
fireplace with elaborate carved spandrels and overmantel with
2 atlantes and 2 caryatids, a shield and strapwork pilasters.
Billiard Room has fine stone 4 centred fireplace with blank
shields in the spandrels, frieze with swags, cherubs and
strapwork and floral design. Carved overmantel has 2 atlantes,
2 caryatids, strapwork motif and lions heads. Very fine early
C20 panelling with arches, pilasters, strapwork and marquetry
inlay. Fine plastered cornice with griffins and grotesque
masks. Cloakroom to east retains early C20 green and blue
tesselated walls. Former Business Room now office has a wooden
Jacobean style fireplace with elaborate Ionic pilaster. First
floor has bedroom in north west side with 4 centred stone
fireplace with plasterwork above. Walls are panelled to lower
half with early C20 plank and muntin panelling and above
plastered with moulded boars, lions and pelicans. Lord
Rothermoore's Bedroom (now dormitory) has a large stone
chimney-piece with doves and griffins. Early C20 plank and
muntin panelling and C17 cast iron fireback with fluted
pilasters. Bathroom of green marble walls and original Boulton
fittings. Lady Rothermore's Room (now dormitory) is panelled
throughout with some strapwork pilasters. Stone fireplace with
human mask, griffins, dogs and stags. C17 cast iron fireback
with fleur de lys. Overmantel has marquetry inlay
architectural perspective. Another dormitory has a stone
fireplace with lions' masks and mermaids. The Headmistress's
Room has late C19 linenfold panelling and plastered cornice.
Kitchens retain slate shelves. There was an Elizabethan
Hemstead Hall which was pulled down when the present building
was erected near the original site.
(B.of E. 'West Kent and the Weald': Pevsner: P.152).

Listing NGR: TQ8024633803

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.