Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

A quadrangular castle and 16th/17th century manor house known as Old Scotney Castle, set in a 19th century landscaped garden

A Scheduled Monument in Lamberhurst, Kent

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 51.0914 / 51°5'29"N

Longitude: 0.4111 / 0°24'39"E

OS Eastings: 568941.71056

OS Northings: 135224.247439

OS Grid: TQ689352

Mapcode National: GBR NRW.GRP

Mapcode Global: FRA C6R7.FZF

Entry Name: A quadrangular castle and 16th/17th century manor house known as Old Scotney Castle, set in a 19th century landscaped garden

Scheduled Date: 14 July 1933

Last Amended: 16 November 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009005

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24400

County: Kent

Civil Parish: Lamberhurst

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Church of England Parish: Lamberhurst St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Rochester


The monument includes three adjacent islands set in a moat within a former
loop of the River Bewl. On the more northerly island are the remains of a
quadrangular castle built around 1377-80 for Roger Ashburnham, of which one,
round, corner tower (roofed and incorporated within the 16th century wing of a
manor house), sections of the curtain wall and the base of the gatehouse are
still standing. These remains are Listed Grade I. The second island lies to
the south west and was originally connected to the main island by a defensible
bridge. This ancillary island supported stables and other service buildings,
now surviving as ruins and buried remains. Nothing is recorded on the third
island, apart from some recent statuary, however it is suggested that this
island may be more recent. Old Scotney Castle has an unusual arrangement,
because most castles of this type were constructed on a single, moated island.

The castle was extensively remodelled in the late 16th and early 17th
centuries to form a stone and half-timbered manorial residence, of which the
south wing survives as a roofed building and is in use as a museum.
The remainder of the castle and its outbuildings on the second island were
landscaped into ruins and gardens when the new Scotney Castle was built on an
overlooking hillside to the north west for Edward Hussey in c.1840. At this
time, parts of the manor house range were taken down in such a way as to
retain features of decorative interest and to increase the romantic character
of the scene. Some brick-built, garden walling survives from this phase, and
the third, small island, on which a Henry Moore sculpture is now sited, may
also originate from the 19th century landscaping.
In recent years, the gatehouse has been rebuilt, and a modern brick buttress
inserted inside the north west corner of the ruined wing of the manor house. A
lean-to, one-storey store has also been built against a free-standing wall of
the ruined wing.
Excluded from the scheduling are, on the main island, the roofed, south wing
of the manor house, currently used as a museum and best protected by listing;
the three modern walls of the single storey, lean-to building built against a
freestanding wall of the ruined portion of the manor house; the surfaces of
the modern paths and the imported well-head ornament and other imported
statuary; the Henry Moore sculpture and its plinth on the most south westerly
island is also excluded, although the ground beneath all these features is

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A quadrangular castle is a strongly fortified residence built of stone, or
sometimes brick, around a square or rectangular courtyard. The outer walls
formed a defensive line, frequently with towers sited on the corners and
occasionally in intermediate positions as well. Some of the very strongly
defended examples have additional external walls. Ditches, normally wet but
sometimes dry, were also found outside the walls. Two main types of
quadrangular castle have been identified. In the southern type, the angle and
intermediate mural towers were most often round in plan and projected markedly
from the enclosing wall. In the northern type, square angle towers, often of
massive proportions, were constructed, these projecting only slightly from the
main wall. Within the castle, accommodation was provided in the towers or in
buildings set against the walls which opened onto the central courtyard. An
important feature of quadrangular castles was that they were planned and built
to an integrated, often symmetrical, design. Once built, therefore, they did
not lend themselves easily to modification. The earliest and finest examples
of this class of castle are found in Wales, dating from 1277, but they also
began to appear in England at the same time. Most examples were built in the
14th century but the tradition extended into the 15th century. Later examples
demonstrate an increasing emphasis on domestic comfort to the detriment of
defence and, indeed, some late examples are virtually defenceless. They
provided residences for the king or leading families and occur in both rural
and urban situations. Quadrangular castles are widely dispersed throughout
England with a slight concentration in Kent and Sussex protecting a vulnerable
coastline and routes to London. Other concentrations are found in the north
near the Scottish border and also in the west on the Welsh border. They are
rare nationally with only 64 recorded examples of which 44 are of southern
type and 20 are of northern type. Considerable diversity of form is exhibited
with no two examples being exactly alike. With other types of castle, they are
major medieval monument types which, belonging to the highest levels of
society, frequently acted as major administrative centres and formed the foci
for developing settlement patterns. Castles generally provide an emotive and
evocative link to the past and can provide a valuable educational resource,
both with respect to medieval warfare and defence, and to wider aspects of
medieval society. All examples retaining significant remains of medieval date
are considered to be of national importance.

Old Scotney Castle is a good example of an earlier, medieval monument adapted
as a manorial residence in the Tudor period, and as landscaped ruins in the
Victorian period. Despite some disturbance by modern gardening and
landscaping, it survives well. Although few of the buildings of the
quadrangular castle remain upstanding, much of their original extent will
survive below ground in buried form. These remains will contain archaeological
and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which
it was constructed. More of the manor house remains upstanding, and one wing,
a Grade I Listed Building, survives almost intact. The adaptation of the
typical manor house form of the Tudor period to fit within the confines of the
quadrangular castle is of architectural interest.
The transformation of the old castle remains and Tudor manor house in the
early Victorian period into a picturesque ruin within a landscaped garden
visible from the new country house, is also of interest. It offers a good and
late example of the widespread 18th and early 19th century phenomenon of
Romantic Antiquarianism - the creation of an attractive, managed `wilderness'
around the focus of a deliberately ruined building.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The National Trust, , Scotney Castle, (1992)
The National Trust, , Scotney Castle, (1992)

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.