History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
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 is an absolute delight to visit. The room stewards were excellent, and gave us an introductory lecture on the history of the house and the life of Sir Herbert, as well as a glimpse into Baker family life at Owletts. After the lecture we were free to wander, but there were guides in all the major rooms, and they did an excellent job of answering our questions.
The features that stuck in my mind are the wonderful astronomical clock in the parlour, and best of all, the quite stunning plasterwork ceiling at the top of the stairs. Luckily for us, there were very handy chairs on the stair landing so we could sit and gawk at the ceiling, which is an absolutely stunning example of 17th century plasterwork.
Owletts is not a stately home, or a mansion, but a comfortable family home, with a fascinating history and fantastic architectural details. The village of Cobham itself is well worth exploring. There medieval church is a gem, and behind the church is a complex of medieval almshouses. A short distance north of Cobham is the stately home of Cobham Hall (now a school) and the fantastic Cobham Mausoleum (National Trust).
Address: The Street, Cobham, Gravesend, Kent, England, DA12 3AP
Attraction Type: Historic Building
Location: 1 mile south of A2 at the west edge of Cobham village, at the junction of Sole Street and the road to Dartford.
National Trust - see also: National Trust memberships (official website link)
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
We've 'tagged' this attraction information to help you find related historic attractions and learn more about major time periods mentioned.
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17th century (Time Period) -
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Cobham Hall - 0.9 miles (Historic House)
Cobham Mausoleum - 1.5 miles (Historic Building)
Milton Chantry - 3.2 miles (Historic Building)
Temple Manor - 3.9 miles (Historic Building)
Paddlesworth, St Benedict's Church - 4.1 miles (Historic Church)
Tilbury Fort - 4.4 miles (Historic Building)
Rochester Guildhall Museum - 4.5 miles (Museum)
Rochester Castle - 4.5 miles (Castle)
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