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Description: Godmersham Park, Courtyards, Walled Gardens and Gateways
Date Listed: 13 October 1952
English Heritage Building ID: 181548
OS Grid Reference: TR0615451018
OS Grid Coordinates: 606154, 151018
Latitude/Longitude: 51.2211, 0.9508
Explore more of the area around Godmersham, Kent at Explore Britain.
TR 05 SE GODMERSHAM GODMERSHAM PARK
4/24 Godmersham Park,
13.10.52 gardens and gateways
House. 1732 for Thomas Brodnax-May-Knight, wings added c. 1780,
south front remodelled 1852, and c. 1935 by Walter Sarel. Red
brick and ashlar dressings and slate roof. North front: painted
in C19, the bricks were turned round to expose unpainted surface
c. 1935. 2 storeys and attic on ashlar plinth, with discontinuous
plat band, modillion eaves cornice, parapet bearing urns, and
hipped roof, with 2 projecting hipped wings, 5 pedimented dormers,
and 4 stacks regularly ranged left to right. Regular fenestra-
tion in 2-3-2 rhythm, all windows C20 glazing bar sashes. Recessed
hall of 3 windows, square sashes to first floor, keyed oeil-de-
boeuf mezzainine windows and 2 sash windows with cornice hoods
on consoles on ground floor,flanking central double doors of 3
fielded panels each, with semi-circular fanlight and moulded arched
surrounds. Attached Ionic columns support pediment above.
Two projecting wings beyond of 2 windows, those on ground floor
with pediments over. Flanking this main block are corridor wings,
stepped down and recessed, of 1 window to each floor, that on
ground floor with "Gibbs surround". Beyond, low wings of 2 storeys
on plinth with plat band and hipped roof with 5 windows and gauged
heads to each floor. South front: originally plainer than north
front, with bayed ends to projecting wings attic and pedimented
portico, now of 2 storeys and garret and 4 stacks with ashlar plinth,
plat band, cornice and balustraded parapet. Main block of recessed
centre and projecting wings, 7 windows to each floor, the central
recessed area (the Saloon) with French windows flanking blocked
doorway with broken pediment enclosing cartouche supported on Ionic
pilasters. The entrance is now by French doors in the left
hand corridor wing. The wing to left now an orangery with 3 full
height glazing-bar arched and keyed windows flanked by Doric
pilasters. The wing to right has similar plinth, plat band, cornice
and parapet with urns, but has 5 glazing bar sash windows to each
floor. This front is as rebuilt c 1935. Interior: 2 original
interiors of c. 1732 survive; the entrance hall, of 1 storey only
the mezzanine oeil-de-boeuf windows echoed by medallions in
the deep frieze, a fire place with pedimented plaster relief over
to right faced to left by pedimented niche with shell-head alcove.
Rectangular compartmented ceilings, the beams with stucco fruit
and flowers. The other original interior is the drawing room with,
plaster work of musical instruments, fruit and flowers, and
framed mirrors, all after the style of William Kent. (C. Hussey,
C.L. Feb. 23. 1945, 334). All other interiors by Walter Sarel
c. 1935, using many genuine C18 features brought in from various
other places. (Sevenoaks, London, Bath). The orangery decorated
by Felix Harbord. Subsidiary features: post and iron chain
attached to obelisks before main north door. Brick wall running
left off north front, 7' high, stepped down at 3 stages, and
terminating in gateway, with vermiculated and rusticated piers,
supporting plinths bearing coade stone urns, signed Coade, London 1793.
2 similar urns at entrance to stable courtyard beyond, and to
right, large keyed arched gateway with pediment over to kitchen
courtyard. Stable ranges (now offices in part) C18 with C20
additions, of 1 storey red brick, plain tile roof, irregular
fenestration. West,the walled gardens, 3 in all, with C17 and
C18 walls in English and Flemish (chequered) bonds, an
average 10' high, with round-arched doors, extending in 3 court-
yards c. 150 yards north-south and c. 30 yards east-west, the
most southerly a Yew tree garden laid out by Norah Lindsay.
The south front and west court fronted with raised stone flag
pavement, the west court with lily pond, with wall-water spout,
balustraded courtyard, and flights of steps, with full size
statue of a stag, and large urn in niche on side of house.
Statuary otherwised itemised separately. History: the house was
owned from 1797 - 1852 by Edward Austen - Knight, brother of
Jane Austen, a frequent and regular visitor, supposed to have
written some of her works here, and to have used Godmersham
and its denizens as prototype for Mansfield Park. See. C. Hussey,
C.L. Feb 16. 1945, 288-91, Feb. 23. 1945, 332-5, Mar. 2. 1945,
376-9. B.O.E. Kent II, 333.
Listing NGR: TR0615251016
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.