BOUGHTON MONCHELSEA PLACE
- Heritage Category:
- Park and Garden
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Maidstone (District Authority)
- Boughton Monchelsea
- National Grid Reference:
- TQ 77339 49870
Archaeological remains of an extensive late C17 formal layout set in a pre C17 deer park, enlarged in the early C19.
Boughton Monchelsea Place was built c 1567-75 as an addition to an earlier house, by Robert Rudston who had purchased the estate in 1551. The Rudston family remained at Boughton until 1613, when the property passed from Belknap Rudston to his nephew Sir Francis Barnham. Sir Francis became MP for Maidstone in 1621 and died in 1646, leaving the Boughton estate to his eldest son, Robert. Robert received a barontecy in 1663 and died in 1685, leaving Boughton to his daughter Philadelphia and her husband Thomas Rider. Under Thomas Rider the house received major alterations and additions between c 1685 and 1690 and grand formal gardens were created. His son, Sir Barnham made further alterations to the landscape following his succession in 1698, the final results of which were recorded by Badeslade's view of the house and its setting (drawn 1720s, published 1750s). Sir Barnham died in 1728, leaving a son, Thomas, who was a minor. The bachelor Thomas Rider II made various changes to the house, which were continued by his cousin Ingram Rider between c 1785 and 1805. His eldest son, Thomas Rider III succeeded to the property in 1805. In 1818-19 he added embattlements and gothic windows to the house, extended the park to the north, and created a new north drive. At this time the last traces of the formal landscape were also removed. Thomas Rider was succeeded by his nephew, the fourth Thomas Rider who lived in Wales and let Boughton to a series of tenants. In 1903 it was leased to Lt-Col G B Winch, the freehold being purchased by his nephew in 1960. The Winch family sold the estate in 1998. It remains (2001) in single, private ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING Boughton Monchelsea Place is located c 2km to the south of Boughton Monchelsea village and c 6km south of the centre of Maidstone. The c 40ha site stands in a rural setting, bounded to the north by Heath Road, to the west by Church Lane and Church Hill, to the south by Peens Lane and woodland, and to the east by farmland and woodland. The house stands close to Church Hill, towards the top of a south-facing scarp, a position offering extensive views out over the Weald to the south and east.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES From the lodge at the north-west corner of the site, standing c 850m north-north-west of the house, a drive winds south through coppice and woodland, emerging into the park to approach the north-east corner of the house. This drive was laid out in 1818 by Thomas Rider when the north park was enclosed. A stone archway (C16 or early C17, listed grade II) between the stables and the garden marks an alternative entrance off Church Hill from the west. Before the changes of 1818 this was the main entrance, but the archway was moved and the design of the area altered as part of the early C19 landscaping.
PRINCIPAL BUILDING Boughton Monchelsea Place (listed grade I) is a large country house built of ragstone under a plain tile roof and encloses a courtyard. The south and east ranges date from the mid C16 courtyard house built by Robert Rudston while the remainder of the house dates from alterations and additions undertaken in the late C17 and late C18. The embattled roof line and gothic windows were added in 1818-19 by Thomas Rider.
The house is separated from Church Hill road along the western boundary by the stables and farm buildings, which include a C15 or early C16 barn (listed grade II). South of the stables is St Peter's church and the walled churchyard (outside the area here registered).
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS Below the south and east front terraces are lawns, that to the south being decorated with a mid C19 sundial (listed grade II), that to the east being levelled to form a bowling green. This informal treatment replaced a C17 formal scheme as illustrated by Badeslade (c 1720), which extended mainly out to the east, traces of which remain as field archaeology.
To the north and north-west of the house are three walled garden enclosures, the two beyond the north front being laid out as flower gardens with a mix of perennials and shrubs. The third enclosure, to the north-west of the house, is laid out as an ornamental kitchen garden.
PARK The well-wooded deer park falls steeply from the south and east lawns forming a great bowl below the house, and within it stands the lake located c 400m to the south-east of the house on the site of a small C17 pond (estate plan, 1670). The south park is retained under pasture and is grazed by deer which have been present here for c 250 years (Badeslade, c 1720). Much of the northern section is covered with chestnut coppice and beech woodland. This area, known as Cox's Heath, was enclosed and brought into the park in 1818, while the remainder was certainly in existence by the late C17 when Sir Barnham Rider requested the diversion of a public footpath across it to the church. Several formal ponds existed in the park in the early C18, which persist as wet areas.
KITCHEN GARDEN Two of the walled enclosures to the north and north-west of the house were retained from the C17 formal garden scheme for use as kitchen gardens and orchards. They are both walled with brick and stone. Since 1938 the enclosure to the north-west has been developed as a semi-formal kitchen and flower garden divided by box hedging.
T Badeslade, Thirty six different views of noblemen and gentlemen's seats in the county of Kent (1750s), pl 3 Country Life, 133 (20 June 1963), pp 1489-93; (27 June 1963), pp 1552-5 J Newman, The Buildings of England: West Kent and the Weald (1969) Inspector's Report: Boughton Monchelsea Place, (English Heritage 1988) Boughton Monchelsea Place, guidebook, (nd)
Maps Estate plan, c 1670 (Centre for Kentish Studies, Maidstone)
OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition published 1870 2nd edition published 1898
Description rewritten: March 2001 Amended: November 2001 Register Inspector: EMP Edited: November 2003
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
- Parks and Gardens
This garden or other land is registered under the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953 within the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens by Historic England for its special historic interest.
End of official listing