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Description: Lees Court
Date Listed: 27 August 1952
English Heritage Building ID: 176895
OS Grid Reference: TR0203656066
OS Grid Coordinates: 602036, 156066
Latitude/Longitude: 51.2679, 0.8948
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TR 05 NW SHELDWICH LEES COURT
1/97 Lees Court
House, now flats. Completed c.1652 for Sir George Sondes, rebuilt 1912.
Reconstruction by Edward Hoare and Montague Wheeler. Brick, rendered,
with pilaster bases and capitals and doorcase of ashlar. Slated roof.
Built, following a pre C17 plan around a courtyard. Two storeys, of 13
bays separated by giant Ionic pilasters, with moulded bases, and large
swags between volutes of capitals. Entablature with enriched cornice
brackets to large overhanging eaves and hipped roof with 8 stacks ranged
on ridge and to rear. Regular fenestration of 13 glazing bar sashes on
each floor, without surrounds or mouldings. The centre 4 on ground floor
are raised slightly. Central half-glazed door with moulded stone surround,
and scrolled pediment, enriched, enclosing central cartouche. Right return:
constructed 1912 by Hoare as new entrance frontin Baroque style. Large
Doric portico in 2 stages, with large Venetian window to left. Rear courtyard,
reconstructed 1912, domestic in character. Interior: entirely rebuilt 1912,
and since converted to flats. Entrance hall with internal arcaded porch, and
Doric screens to rear of hall and Ionic screen (now infilled) at head of
stairs. Heavy wooden staircase on Imperial plan, with pendant newels and
pierced balustrades with heraldic heasts. Central hall, behind front entrance,
with ceiling reproducing C17 design, but lowered, with cross-beams and large
central oval, all enriched. The amount of structural reconstruction is
difficult to assess, but the front facade seems to be original, certainly the
bases of the pilasters have molten lead on them fron the fire of 1911 which
destroyed the house. Interiors and roof certainly rebuilt. Attributed to
Inigo Jones (Hasted) or John Webb (C. Hussey, 1922). The use of a giant
order, the impurity of proportion and the Ionic capitals, the irregularity
of planning suggest neither of these architects. Hussey compared interiors
of original with Thorpe Hall, Northants; c.1653-6. The swagged capitals are
alsoused internally there and externallyat Lindsey House, Lincoln's Inn
Fields, London, c.1640, both buildings associated with Peter Mills bricklayer
and architect in the City of London. He also built the central block at
Cobham Hall, with giant pilasters, and similar doorcase (See B.0.E. Kent I,
233). Sir George Sondes's connections were with the City of London, marrying
the daughter of a Lord Mayor. The peculiar form of roof appears to be a
compromise for the original intention of a balustraded roof with higher pitched
hip. (See Badeslade's engraving in Harris's History of Kent, 1719). The
gardens laid out 1908 onwards by Thomas Mawson, and illustrated in "The Art
and Craft of Garden Making" (See Country Life, August 12th and August 19th
1922; See also B.O.E. Kent II 1983, 370-1).
Listing NGR: TR0167955885
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.