History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Links to Charles II and Dickens
Restoration House was not originally one, but two medieval houses. Some time in the late 16th or early 17 century the 2 buildings were combined to create an elegant mansion house. At that time the mansion stood just outside the medieval town walls of Rochester. The first owner was Henry Clerke, a successful lawyer. Clerke and his son Francis, also a lawyer, were staunch Royalist supporters and both served as MPs for Rochester.
When the Civil War broke out the Clerke's house was seized by Parliament and occupied by Colonel Gibbon, commander of Parliamentary forces in the south-east. When Cromwell died and the Commonwealth faltered, Francis Clerke was active in efforts to restore Charles II to the throne. Clerke's house was refurnished to act as a suitable overnight base for Charles to begin his triumphant journey to London and coronation.
Modern investigation has unveiled the changes made to prepare the house to receive the future king. Rooms were painted with faux marbling and French style doors were inserted to 'open up' partition walls. The interior gives us an extraordinary glimpse into the Restoration period, and how continental fashions were interpreted in this provincial town.
Restoration House has a relatively small frontage, with no hint of the large walled gardens that stretch out behind the house. The gardens cover almost 3/4 of an acre, a remarkably large area for a townhouse. There are two parts to the garden, divided in half by a low brick wall. On one side are a parterre and sunken greenhouse, on the other a cut garden and kitchen garden area.
About Restoration House
Address: 17-19 Crow Lane, Rochester, Kent, England, ME1 1RF
Attraction Type: Historic Building
Location: Off High Street, opposite Vines Park
Website: Restoration House
Historic Houses Association
OS: TQ744 683
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
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NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Rochester Cathedral - 0.1 miles (Cathedral)
Rochester Castle - 0.1 miles (Castle)
Rochester Guildhall Museum - 0.3 miles (Museum)
Temple Manor - 0.7 miles (Historic Building)
Historic Dockyard Chatham - 1.1 miles (Museum)
Royal Engineers Museum - 1.3 miles (Museum)
Upnor Castle - 1.6 miles (Castle)
Cobham Mausoleum - 3.1 miles (Historic Building)
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