Battleaxe is clearly having a National Trust moment. Less than a week after Bateman’s we decided to go to Scotney Castle. I hardly dare confess that we had never visited after travelling past it on the A21 about half a million times…..
It was another really fabulous autumn day. Flawless blue sky, clear, sparkling light, trees just on the turn….
Scotney does not have a distinguished historical past, but it was given to the National Trust, intact, when its last owner and inhabitant Betty Hussey died in 2006. We gathered the Husseys made their money from iron, in Worcestershire.
The estate we see now was created by Edward Hussey in the 1830s and 1840s. He partially demolished the old castle to create a fashionably picturesque ruin, had the grounds landscaped, and had the new house built in Gothic Revival style. The house, designed by Anthony Salvin, reminded us, both inside and out, very much of our local Fairlight Hall, also Gothic Revival, built at the same time as Scotney.
|Scotney – the ‘new’ house|
We loved the house, which is just as it was when Betty left it, even to the cat bed in the kitchen. One of her cats still lives there, but we didn’t see it. Betty’s bathroom, and her bedroom, reminded me very much of my mother – the old lady musty talcum powder smell, the pink fluffy things, the dressing table set….. The place was packed with interesting objects and pictures, some notable, some less so, and some just funny, like the ancient electric wall heaters in the guest bathrooms. It felt very homely.
|Great retro pots in the kitchen|
|A nice John Piper over the fireplace|
|A female Hussey, posing in the garden|
We had a coffee sitting outside the very nice tea-room. This time, Philosopher had to deal with the rigours of the queue – sure enough, there was an old buffer in front of him, wanting something or other which took an unsuitably long time. For NT aficionados – shop is not as good at Bateman’s!
|Excellent outdoor tea area….|
Then, we walked on down to the real heart of the place, the astonishingly beautiful old castle, in its moat. Clearly, picturesque ruins have just as much appeal for us as they did for our Victorian forbears. How photogenic is this……
Battleaxe would totally recommend Scotney Castle – there is lots to see. I’m so glad to have this period of wonderful autumn weather. The Scotney outing was our last before I go into the Conquest Hospital tomorrow to have my gallbladder removed – oh yuck. Get ready for another gripping hospital blog post!