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Ightham Mote

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
The Moat

In the civil parish of Ightham.
In the historic county of Kent.
Modern Authority of Kent.
1974 county of Kent.
Medieval County of Kent.

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ58465347
Latitude 51.25849° Longitude 0.26963°

Ightham Mote has been described as a certain Fortified Manor House.

There are major building remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law*.


Ightham Mote is a particularly important example because the detailed historical and archaeological documentation of the site makes it one of the most informative examples in the country, and underlines the importance of the large amount of archaeological evidence considered to survive beneath the present structures, beneath the lawn to the north and beneath the courtyard to the west. Ightham Mote includes an exceptionally well preserved moated manor house, a nearly-square moat some 50m long by 7-10m wide, an infilled fishpond and an outer courtyard of buildings. The evolution of the building from a hall-house with adjoining solars and chapel in the mid-14th century to a grand Jacobean mansion set around a quadrangle in the 17th century is documented both historically and archaeologically. Such moated sites are generally seen as prestigious residences of the Lords of the manor, the moat not only marking the high status of the occupier but also serving to deter casual raiders and wild animals. In the mid-16th century an outer courtyard to the west of the house was enclosed by ranges of half-timbered stables, staff quarters and a gatehouse. Only the western end of this courtyard survives, a fire having destroyed the remainder. The central area is now a lawn. To the north of the house the lawn occupies the area of a former fish-pond which would have provided fish for the table. The date of its construction is unknown, but it was infilled between 1789 and 1849 as part of a change in fashion towards lawns and landscaped gardens. (Scheduling Report)

House. Present buildings date at least from circa 1340-1360, with much addition since. Moated, 4 ranges round courtyard with smaller yard behind to east. West front 2 ranges either side of west tower. Coursed rubble stone to left and right, the upper parts galletted, the lower ungalletted. Plain tiled roofs with end stacks. Central tower random rubble stone with early C16 crenellated brick parapet. Two storeys to sides, 3-storey tower. Three windows either side of centre almost symmetrical, save first floor to left with one larger 3-light window with dripmould centrally-placed. Two-light lattice casement windows with round heads in square frames. Three-light lattice casements with dripmould and cusped heads to lights on first and second floors of tower. Main entrance arch in larger, shallower arched surround. Large double doors with smaller door in right-hand one. North front. Deep random rubble basement. Random rubble gable end of west front to right with stone C18 Palladian window inserted in C16 window surround. Two timber-framed ranges to left. Right-hand range taller with plain tiled roof and coved eaves at right-hand end. Large off-ridge stack to left. Three large casements regularly placed around centre of range and smaller casement to left. Lower framed range to left with plain tiled roof and 3 brick stacks off-ridge to rear. Irregular 3 window front, stone casements below, wooden casements above. East front. Random rubble ground floor, mixture of random rubble and timber-framing above. Framed gable end at extreme right-hand end, large wooden casement on first floor. Stone gable end to left of it taller with windows on first floor and in attic. Central timber-framed block, close-studded. Plain tiled roof with 2 different roof pitches. Three storeys, irregularly fenestrated, 3 windows on second floor, 2 on first floor. Arched entrance with bridge over moat on ground floor to left. Gable end large brick stack to left. Stone mullioned window on all 3 floors of gable. South front. Random stone, below random stone gable and to left. Timber-framed return gable at right-hand end. Central part jettied over ground floor as is the right-hand gable, recently covered with applied timbering. Plain tiled roof with 2 brick stacks, left and right of centre. Two storeys; 7 window first floor, 7 window ground floor, all casements, mostly with arched heads in square surrounds. Courtyard. West side. Central tower with main entrance to courtyard below, and two 3-light windows with cusped heads to the lights and dripmoulds on first and second storeys above. North side. Timber-framed with wooden loggia to right on the ground Floor and the 3 chapel windows above. Staircase projection to left with small wooden bell-turret on gable. East side. Hall range. Random rubble and tall storey to right, timber-framed with 2 return gables and 2 storeys to left. Entrance to hall at extreme right with moulded arch of Bethersden marble. Five-light lattice casement window with possibly original glass and 5 stained-glass coats-of-arms to left of the entrance. Cusp-headed lights in square-headed surround with dripmould. Both gables with C16 decorated barge-boards. Large oriel window on coved footing flanked by smaller casements. One pane of glass in this oriel is inscribed 'John Rauner, 1680', the name of,the glazier and the date of the introduction of the window. Central gabled dog-kennel, half-timbered, added in 1891. Windows on the north and east sides have Gothick-headed glazing bars, added circa 1800. Interior: Built circa 1340-60. Possibly never had a screens passage for there is a lancet of contemporary date where the answering doorway to the main entrance should have been. Two arched doorways in south end wall, that to right larger, possible the original buttery and pantry entrances. Trussed rafter roof with collar purlin and crown-post resting in stone sphare arch which rests on a pair of carved corbels. Wooden arches at each end also resting on carved corbels Panelling and fireplace surround by R Norman Shaw, 1872. Crypt. Circa 1340-60,2 bays with pair of quadripartite rib vaults. Original chapel. Circa 1340-60, converted into 2-rooms, 1521-27. Original arched dorway with moulded surround. Depressed ogee-arched squint into Oriel Room. On site of original solar. Trussed rafter roof with 2 crown posts and one king post on tie beams. Jacobean revival 2-tier fireplace, 1866. Staircase, circa 1620. Two-flight rectangular square newel with Italian balusters. Carved Saracen's head on lower newel post. Chapel 1521-27. Wooden barrell vault with 3 tie-beams, decorated with painted royal badges and chevrons. Contemporary screen, pairs, pulpit and sounding board. Stained glass possibly Cologne in origin and circa 1525, in one window. West door, circa 1340-60, boarded with long strap hinges. Drawing Room. South fireplace 2 tier, circa 1620, and carved frieze of same date. Hand-painted Chinese wallpaper of C18, restored in 1891-92, same date as north-west neo-Jacobean, 1891-92. Chapel Staircase. 1891-92. (Listed Building Report)
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:19:31

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