Eastry Court - First Palace
Eastry Court - First Palace
Eastry Court has a valid claim to be the first recorded house in English history. Boasting 10000 square feet and nine bedrooms, this massive home is a sight to behold! Records dating back to AD665 show that it was the palace of King Egbert of Kent and it is thought to have been continuously inhabited ever since.
It passed from the kings of Kent to the religious establishment at Canterbury in the Anglo-Saxon period, and featured in the Domesday Book of 1086. Less than 100 years later, in 1164, the most famous Archbishop in English history, Thomas Becket, fled from the fury of King Henry II to Eastry Court and hid there for several days before escaping to Flanders.
The remnants of the hall at which Edward III feasted in 1341 with his generals prior to one of his regular invasions of France in the Hundred Years War are probably the earliest elements of Eastry Court that can be clearly identified today.
On the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539 the house was passed on a long lease to Sir Christopher Nevinson, the right-hand man (or commissary) of Archbishop Cranmer who was later burnt at the stake by Bloody Queen Mary. The family held it for a century and the Tudor elements of the house, particularly the chimneys, are from this period.
Subsequently, the lease went to the Dean of Canterbury, Isaac Bargrave, who raised Kent on behalf of the King during the Civil War and died in the Fleet prison in London when he was captured by the Parliamentarians. His grandson “new-fronted” the house with a single skin of red brick in 1723. Later members of the family remodeled the interior extensively in the 1780s. This was the last major rebuild and Eastry Court went into gentle decline through the Victorian era.
At some stage in the early 20th century the Manor Court on the west side was pulled down, or burned, and the house served as a billet for troops during the two world wars. Despite its disheveled appearance, its historical significance was recognized in the 1980s, when it was listed as a rare Grade 1 private property and subsequent owners have brought it to back to peak condition.
When entering this historic property the first room on the right is the Georgian drawing room comprising of a custom built bookshelves which run along the wall, a rustic fireplace as well as large Georgian windows and doors which open out to the garden. Opposite is the billiard room and a further living room which boasts an inglenook fireplace perfect space for you and the family to unwind. Behind these rooms is the kitchen, which also looks out to the garden and has a spacious dining area with quarry tiled floor and beamed ceilings.
The wide pine paneled staircase takes you up to the first floor where there are five bedrooms including the master en-suite bedroom. All of which are furnished to a high standard and mimic the grandeur of this property. The master bedroom has a grand Venetian window which overlooks the garden and church. One staircase leads to a double room, with bathroom attached, while a second staircase curls its way up into a suite comprising two bedrooms, ideal for children, with shower room and views of the garden.
Eastry lies on the east coast of Kent, about 70 miles from London, in an area that was always the most vulnerable to invasion from the Continent. Castles from all eras lie close by.
The extensive remains of the capital of the Roman “Saxon Shore” forts, Richborough Castle (or Rutupiae), lie three miles away, while Walmer Castle, to which Wellington retired, is five miles. A little further along the coast is Dover Castle, which fended off the French Dauphin in 1216 and where the Dunkirk evacuation was master-minded in 1940.
Close to hand is Sandwich – “the completest medieval town in England”, and the walled city of Canterbury is 12 miles inland, with its magnificent Cathedral and excellent recreational facilities. The area is a golf mecca, with Royal St Georges (which regularly hosts the Open) three miles away and two other Championship courses nearby.
Close by are two world-famous Aspinall conservation wild-life parks, Howletts, and Port Lympne. The seaside towns of Deal, Ramsgate, and Broadstairs (overlooked by Charles Dickens’ Bleak House) are in easy reach. In recent years several first-class restaurants have opened in the area, some boasting Michelin stars.
This part of east Kent features exceptionally attractive cycling country, and there is a rural ride straight to the empty stretches of Sandwich Bay from Eastry Court (a relaxed 4 miles).
Communications are excellent, with two motorways to London, the M2, and M20, and a high-speed rail link from nearby stations at Dover, Deal, and Sandwich to St Pancras. Mainland Europe is swiftly accessible either through the port of Dover or the Eurotunnel shuttle.
Private Residence with 3 levels
9 bedrooms, 8 baths, 10000 square feet, 930 square meters
King, King, King, King, King, Queen, 2x Twin, 2x Twin, and 2x Twin
16 guests maximum
London Gatwick Airport (LGW)
90 minutes by car
Beautiful garden views
No Pets Allowed
Not Handicap Accessible
View All Amenities
Housekeeper services by arrangement at £15 per hour
Activities of Interest
- White Cliffs - Visit the Magnificent coastal site the "White Cliffs" which overlook the English Channel
- Deal, Broadstairs and Ramsgate - Visit these gorgeous coastal English towns!
- Discover Kent by Bike - Explore the delights of Kent countryside and coastline by bike giving you a refreshing and enriching experience
Places of Interest
- Canterbury Cathedral (30 minutes by car) - A World Heritage site the church is known as the "Mother Church" of the Anglican Communion dating back to the middle ages, a must visit when at Eastry Court
- Royal St Georges Championship Golf Course (15 minutes by car) - If Golf is an interest of yours, then this is the place visit, founded in 1887 this Golf club has become one of leading golfing establishments in the world
- Sandwich (10 minutes by car) - Visit this town and get a taste of medieval England
Claiming to be the oldest continuously inhabited home in England (dating from 603AD) and grade 1 listed, I was expecting something fairly austere or, at the least fairly inflexible. Yes, it is grand, but above all, it is a wonderful family home where young children and elder statesmen (and everyone in between) feel equally comfortable. The owners have also fitted out the building to a very high standard. Despite living only 50 miles away, there were many interesting local attractions. Shops, pubs and a good fish and chippy were only a 3 minute walk away and with 2 well equipped kitchens, we had most dinners in, invariably in the charming covered outdoor kitchen dining area. Our host and hostess were both charming and extremely helpful. All of our party were very impressed and felt privileged to stay there.”