One one of the original four towers still stands, topped with a later conical roof and bristling with machicolations. It looks for all the world like a fairy tale castle tower, so much so that you almost expect to see a Disney fairy princess at the upper window of the tower. It is possible that the quadrangular castle was never actually finished, and what we see today is a large part of the completed structure. The south tower we see today was recorded as the only tower standing in 1558.
The tower is connected to a later Elizabethan manor, built by the Darrell family. Thomas Darrell ownred the castle in the late 16th century, at a a time when Catholicism was illegal. For seven years between 1591-1598 Darrell harboured a Catholic priest in a secret chamber inside the castle. On one occasion the priest, a Jesuit named Father Richard Blount, was forced to flee over a wall and across the moat to escape a raid by the authorities.
An east range was built by William Darrell around 1630, possibly to a design by Inigo Jones. Darrell had most of the medieval castle pulled down and connected his new house to the surving tower. The manor followed the same route to decay as the medieval castle, and together they form the centrepiece of a magnificent hillside garden.
Hussey planted a profusion of trees, and masses of azaleas and rhodedendrons, so that Scotney is a blaze of colour in early summer. His descendent, Christopher hussey, left the estate to the National Trust, and the Trust has its regional headquarters here. Margaret Thatcher had an office in the mansion, and the house appeared in the 1979 film Yanks.
Visiting Scotney Castle
Scotney is a gem; the views from the winding path down the hillside gardens prepare you for the Old Castle, but it is only when you walk around the moated site that it really hits you how pretty it is. Some of that 'prettiness' is forced; its a delibert attempt by Edward Hussey to create a picturesque landscape, but in this case it works so well that you don't mind if Hussey accentuated the ruined state of the medieval castle and Elizabethan manor for artistic effect. It works! I've seldom seen a more wonderfully romantic English castle.
England, TN3 8JN
Attraction Type: Castle
Location: 1 m S Lamberhurst, off A21
Website: Scotney Castle
Phone: 01892 893 868
Fax: 01892 890 110
National Trust - see also: National Trust memberships (official website link)
OS: TQ688 354
We've 'tagged' this attraction information to help you find related historic attractions and learn more about major time periods mentioned.Historic Time Periods: Find other attractions tagged with:
14th century (Time Period) - 16th century (Time Period) - castle (Architecture) - Elizabethan (Architecture) - Inigo Jones (Person) - Medieval (Time Period) - moat (Historical Reference) - Victorian (Time Period) -