The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Knole House

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

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

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ53955420
Latitude 51.26618° Longitude 0.20517°

Knole House has been described as a certain Palace, and also as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are major building remains.

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


A late 15th century archbishop's house, possibly on the site of an earlier medieval manor dating to between 1281 and 1456; later it became a Royal Tudor residence and later still it was altered as a Jacobean country house. It is constructed of Kentish ragstone, except for a later half timbered addition. It was built for Thomas Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury. King Henry VIII obtained Knole, along with Otford Palace, from Archbishop Cramner in 1532. In contrast to Otford, Knole was a smaller house; and King Henry apparantly intended to reserve it for his personal use when travelling through that area of the country, whilst the bulk of his retinue could stay at Ottford. There has been some debate as to whether Henry VIII had part of the house known as The Green Court added, or if this had in fact been added by one of Cranmer's ecclesiastical predecessors. Knowle eventually left Royal ownership and became the seat of the Sackville family. It underwent major remodelling in the Jacobean style between 1605 to 1608 for Thomas Sackville. There may have been further rebuilding later in the 17th century after a fire. (PastScape)

Archaeology South East were commissioned by the National Trust to undertake an archaeological watching brief and historical building record during works at Knole House, Sevenoaks, Kent. The work involved an archaeological watching brief of ground reduction after the removal of flagstone surfaces at Stone Court and Green Court. The historic building record comprised a photographic record of the north and south elevations of Stone Court prior to replacement of stonework and a brief record of the Orangery roof after removal of the tile cover. The results of the watching brief at Stone Court revealed part of an extensive water management system. The system included a large brick built tank or cistern (one of two cisterns revealed during a sub-surface video survey carried out in 2005) two man-holes leading to each of the cisterns and two linear drains. The watching brief at Green Court revealed two linear drainage gulleys, which ran alongside the north and south edges of the path from east to west. A single east west linear arrangement of irregular shaped stone blocks, within a probable foundation cut, was recorded close to the west end of the path. A ceramic lined drain orientated north south, capped by stone flags, was also recorded below the level of the pathway. The historic building record of the north and south elevations of Stone Court showed that the walls were constructed in hewn and coursed ragstone blocks over a protruding base plinth. The plinth had galetting to the mortar bedding joints and a moulded coping stone to the fabric above. The galetting was not continued into the fabric of the structure above the plinth. Some of the stone utilised in the construction of the walls had various tool marks, but none were of a uniform nature and are believed to be for shaping rather than decorative purposes. Both elevations have two rows of moulded string courses: the first between ground and first floor and the second above first floor and below the crenellated parapet. The stone string courses had been cut into to allow the elaborately decorated lead downpipes to be fixed to the structure. The down-pipes are dated 1605 and were added to the Court as part of the Great Rebuild carried out by the Sackville family. The survey of the Orangery roof structure revealed eight full bays and two partial bays. The partial bays connected the Orangery to the range at the western end and at the eastern end created a dormer-type construction for a Dutch Gable. There are three additional Dutch gables to the southern slope of the Orangery. The oak roof construction is of nine trusses comprising principal rafter pairs jointed at apex and linked by collar and tie-beam. The north and south roof slopes had a single in-line row of purlins in bay lengths tennoned into the corresponding principal rafters of the trusses. Ashlar posts, one to each side of the truss, linked the principal rafter to the tie-beam and together with the soffit of the collar created a large open area to the attic which had been finished in lath and plaster. The ceiling between ground and first floor had been removed in 1823 to make a double height space for the Orangery and a series of double height windows were placed within the southern elevation with a matching set of doors in the eastern elevation. The attic floor had remained in situ and was predominantly constructed of a grid-like arrangement of joists. (Archaeology South East 2007)
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER       Listing   I. O. E.
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:19:31

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact