Featured image of Scotney Castle

The History of Scotney Castle

LocationLamberhurst, County of Kent, England (Google Maps)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned byNational Trust
Official WebsiteScotney Castle
Rooms AvailableYes (Weddings, Events, Filming)

Scotney Castle is a strategically constructed manor house located southeast of Lamberhurst in Kent, England. Curiously, it stands today on the area where a river once ran through the center point of the grounds in the castle that divided the two counties of Kent and Sussex. The castle has a broad history of inheritance and architectural maneuvers aiming to fascinate the visitors with its design and hidden rooms. 

History of Scotney Castle

Initially, a manorial site, the now fortified Scotney Castle derives its name from its owner Walter de Scoteni who owned the manor house in the 13th century. His family owned the manor until the 1350s, after which it was passed on to the Ashburnham family. Roger Ashburnham built the castle that still exists today in the fourteenth century when the Hundred Years War had circled against the English, resulting in increased vulnerability on the South Coast because of French raiding. It was then that he decided to fortify the castle to protect the coast.

However, in the 15th century, the castle fell into the hands of Henry Chicheley, Archbishop of Canterbury, who resided there and then passed it on to his niece after her marriage to John Darrell. The Darrell family held the castle for almost four centuries, and in the late 16th century Thomas Darrell once hid a Catholic priest in the house, which still contains a Priest hole. The Protestant Government of England had then put a lot of restrictions on the Catholics, and therefore, to counter this, the family built a concealed room called the Priest Hole. It even housed the Jesuit Father Richard Blount between 1591 and 1598, who had a narrow escape when the government authorities conducted a raid at the place. 

In 1778, Edward Hussey purchased Scotney Castle and its adjoining lands from the Darrell family. Later his grandson built a Victorian-style mansion house, called today the ‘new’ Scotney Castle, at the top of the hill overlooking the ‘old’ castle. The family lived in the castle until its descendant Christopher Hussey sold it to National Trust in 1970. 

Architecture

Scotney Castle aerial view
Scotney Castle aerial view”, by Lieven Smits, is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Scotland Castle Estate covers 780 acres of land, including agricultural lands and parklands. The old castle has strong structures, built into a quadrangular-shaped castle occupying a pair of islands, surrounded by a wide moat and lake. Only one of the four original towers still stands in the now ruined castle.

The new Victorian-style mansion was designed by the then famous architect Anthony Salvin. It is a prominent example of the Tudor Revival Style of architecture in 19th-century Britain. He imagined the castle to be placed such that it offers a picturesque view with landscaped gardens. The attractive gardens are known for their autumn colors and azalea, kalmia, and rhododendron blooms in season. The gardens also house a 100-million-year-old impression of the footprint of the Dinosaur Iguanodon

Movie Features

Yanks (1979)– Scotney Castle is featured in the famous War-Drama movie Yanks, directed by John Schlesinger, starring Richard Gere, Lis Eichhorn, Venessa Redgrave, and William Devane.

BBC Play of the Month (1965-1983)– The castle is also featured in Episode: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1971) of the series BBC Play of the Month directed by James Cellan Jones.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Scotney Castle?

Scotney Castle is located in the southeast of Lamberhurst, in the valley of River Bewl in the county of Kent in England.

Does anyone live in Scotney Castle?

Presently, no one lives in Scotney Castle as it is under the ownership of the National Trust. The last known occupants of the castle have been the family of Christopher Hussey.

Have you visited this castle before? If yes, why not share some beautiful pictures with us!
You can email us your pictures of the castle at castrumtocastle@gmail.com. Please use the name of the castle in the subject line.
Also, don’t forget to mention your name and social media profile link if you want the credits!

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