A lovely red-brick Kentish Yeoman's house dating from the late 17th century. The house was built for Bonham and Elizabeth Hayes, successful farmers. It is two storeys high, with dormer windows. The house interiors were completed in 1684, including the ornate plasterwork, which was probably executed by Italian craftsmen.
Owletts was the family home of architect Sir Herbert Baker, who became extremely successful in designing overseas buildings, particularly in South Africa. Baker was born at Owletts in 1862, and over his lifetime furnished the house with specially commissioned or collected furniture. The interiors of Owletts are as they were during Sir Herbert's residence here, including family furniture and art collections. When Sir Herbert died in 1946 he left Owletts to the National Trust.
The best features of the house interior are the staircase hall, with superb Carolean plasterwork. Owletts is set in attractive gardens designed with help from Gertrude Jekyll, which are at their best in Spring and Summer. Within the gardens is a bird bath formed from Corinthian capitals salvaged from the old Bank of England building in London.
Owletts is in the care of the National Trust but is let to a tenant. The current tenants are David and Bella Baker and family. David is the great grandson and heir of Sir Herbert Baker, so the house has returned to Baker hands.
Owletts house has had a £1million refit and opened for the first time in 2 years on Sunday the 7th April, 2013.
Opening hours: Apr-Sep inclusive. 11-5pm on Sundays. Other times by arrangement.
Address: The Street, Cobham, Gravesend, Kent, England, DA12 3AP
Attraction Type: Historic Building
National Trust - see also: National Trust memberships (official website link)
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
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