The Royal Connections of Ightham Mote
Hidden away in a secluded Kent valley, is this perfectly preserved medieval moated manor house. Emerging from the natural landscape almost 700 years ago, Ightham Mote is built from Kentish ragstone and great Wealden oaks.
A moat surrounds all four wings of the house, which in turn is built around an open courtyard. In the tranquil gardens there are streams and lakes fed by natural springs, an orchard, flower borders and a cutting garden. The wider estate offers walks with secret glades and countryside views.
Ightham Mote’s owners were squires, sheriffs, MPs, even courtiers, but they never aspired to higher office or lavish entertainment. This doesn’t mean, however, that Ightham Mote has been completely passed over when it comes to royal history. In fact, for such a small property, Ightham Mote has more than its fair share of royal connections from our current King Charles III, and spanning back centuries ago.
The Wars of the Roses
William Haute Esq inherited Ightham Mote in 1416 and in 1429 married his second wife, Joan Woodville. In 1469, Joan became aunt to the Queen of England, Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV and mother to the ill-fated Edward V.
The Tudor Connections
The New Chapel, with its stunning hand painted ceilings from the early 1500s, likely painted in eager anticipation of a visit from the young King Henry VIII and his Queen, Katherine of Aragon, is the crowning jewel of Tudor artefacts at Ightham Mote. This and the medieval stained glass in the Great Hall provide a unique glimpse into the past.
Ightham Mote’s owner Richard Clement was part of the inner circle of Henry VII. Clement attended the magnificent coronation of Anne Boleyn in 1533, but just 3 years later was among those on the Grand Jury of Kent who denounced her for adultery and incest.
Sir Christopher Allen lived at Ightham Mote from 1553 – 1585. He was knighted by Queen Mary I and enjoyed the confidence of Elizabeth I. He and his wife were, however, suspected of being supporters of Mary Queen of Scots and keeping ‘a vile papistical house’. Ightham Mote was searched, the servants questioned, and their son Charles taken away by relatives.
Throughout their time at Ightham Mote, the Selby’s, who owned Ightham Mote for nearly 300 years from 1591 – 1889 held prominent positions under the crown.
The first Sir William served in the military under Henry VIII whilst there are rumours connecting the foiling of the Gunpowder plot to Ightham Mote’s matriarch, Dame Dorothy.
King Charles III
The then Prince Charles visited Ightham Mote on the 27th of February 2003. King Charles III was the President of the National Trust from 2003 until his ascension to the throne. He requested a special visit to Ightham Mote to meet with staff, volunteers, and the conservation team, who were taking part in the conservation project. Fun-Fact: During his visit Charles III was particularly taken with Victorian radiator in New Chapel.
The buildings and gardens at Ightham Mote evoke a deep sense of history, with the people who have lived and visited here all leaving their mark. As well as 700 years of history, there are trails, a natural play area and an entire weekend of Coronation Celebrations coming up.
Join us at Ightham Mote with a weekend full of festivities in our Coronation Celebration Weekend!
Saturday 6 May – Monday 8 May – Can you spot the crowns hidden around the garden? Join us for this FREE trail!
Sunday 7 May – Pack up a picnic and join us on the North Lawn to listen to the East Peckham Silver Band celebrate the coronation with a mix of classical and modern tunes.
Monday 8 May – Our garden party continues with the Tonbridge Rock Choir on the North Lawn. Bring a picnic, enjoy the sunshine and join us for a sing-song to celebrate the coronation!