Early 1930s formal and ornamental gardens surrounding a country house of C17 origin, greatly restored and extended c 1925-30.
Sissinghurst Court was built in the C17 although its present character dates from c 1925-30 when the house was substantially restored and enlarged. Formal gardens were designed and laid out c 1930 to accompany the house. The site remains (2002) in private ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Sissinghurst Court stands in the village of Sissinghurst, c 18km to the east of Tunbridge Wells, on south side of the A262, Tunbridge to Ashford road. The level c 1ha site is bordered to the north by the A262, to the west by a narrow lane, to the south by farmland, and to the east by the grounds of other village properties.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The Court is approached off the A262 on the northern boundary, the short drive bordered by a privet hedge running south to a gravelled forecourt and paved courtyard on the north-east side of the house.
Sissinghurst Court (listed grade II) is a part timber-framed, part red-brick country house built under a plain tiled roof. The two-storey building, with garret in the east wing, has wooden-framed moulded lattice windows, moulded bargeboards, and Tudor-arched doorways. The 1920s remodelling of the house incorporated material from the C17 building which stood on the same site.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
At the south-east corner of the house iron gates lead into gardens lying below the south and south-east fronts of the house, which are enclosed by a screen of mature trees along the east, south, and west boundaries and laid out in a formal geometric style.
The garden compartments are formed by two major axial paths. From the gates a north to south path, enclosed by clipped yew hedges, runs south to a timber-framed 1930s summerhouse (listed grade II) with rendered infill, moulded wooden eaves, and a steep pyramidal tiled roof. The c 100m path is flanked by deep herbaceous borders. The gardens are crossed from east to west c 50m south of the house by a pergola covered with clematis and climbing roses. The compartment below the south front has a paved terrace leading onto a lawn with two rectangular rose beds. A set of shallow steps leads down to a second lawn with a central rectangular stone-edged pool containing two fountains, and long herbaceous borders backed by yew hedges to east and west. Beyond the pergola, the southern compartment is laid out as a slightly sunken pool garden, backed by clipped yew hedges and with seats overlooking the pool to east and west.
To the south-east of the house, and on the east side of the main north/south walk, is a further garden compartment with lawn and central summerhouse surrounded by a complex pattern of borders.
OS 6" to 1 mile: 3rd edition published 1909
OS 25" to 1 mile: 3rd edition published 1908
Description written: January 2002
Amended: February 2002
Register Inspector: EMP
Edited: November 2003