Today’s magnificent Jacobean Stately Home was built over the ruins of the Boleyn family property, which is thought to have been the birthplace of Anne Boleyn. The architect was Robert Lyminge, who also designed Hatfield House. The last private owner, Philip Kerr, 11th Marquess of Lothian, passed the Estate to the National Trust in 1940, when it was requisitioned for use by the RAF during WWII. The service men and women were billeted in the grounds in Nissen huts, while the Officers were housed in the Hall itself. The adjacent lake was used to practise dinghy drills. There is a museum on site, built in tribute to the RAF pilots and ground crew. The House and Estate were opened to the public in 1962.
The Hall is a very imposing sight, positioned at the end of a vista between two parallel, very tall, yew hedges. Inside there is a wonderful split staircase with carved balustrades, rising up to a stained-glass window, flanked by pictures and sculptures. The interiors of the many rooms are elegantly and elaborately furnished. Many of the ceilings are lavishly decorated with plaster mouldings, and the walls are hung with pictures and tapestries, with carved wooden panelling in several of the rooms.
The grounds outside feature beautifully laid out gardens, with parterres planted with colourful flowers and topiary. There are terraces from which to view the House and grounds, a very unusual Mausoleum, a walled garden, and the large lake that was mentioned earlier.
Guide price: £20.00