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Chilston Park: A Historic Country House Hotel

Imagine stepping into a world of elegance and charm, surrounded by centuries of history. Welcome to Chilston Park, a magnificent country house hotel nestled in the picturesque village of Boughton Malherbe, Kent, England. With its...

Imagine stepping into a world of elegance and charm, surrounded by centuries of history. Welcome to Chilston Park, a magnificent country house hotel nestled in the picturesque village of Boughton Malherbe, Kent, England. With its rich heritage dating back to the 15th century, this Grade I listed building is a testament to timeless beauty and refined luxury.

A Storied Past

Chilston Park holds a captivating history that weaves through the centuries. In the early 12th century, it was owned by William Fitz-Hamon, and later passed into the hands of the Hoese or Hussey family. Throughout the years, the manor changed hands several times before eventually being acquired by the esteemed Edward Hales in 1650. The house then became the residence of Elizabeth Hamilton, a remarkable woman whose legacy still lingers within its walls.

Chilston Park Chilston Manor by Thomas Baderslade, 1719, showing the house from the north with extensive formal gardens.

A Home for the Hamiltons

Elizabeth Hamilton, the widow of James Hamilton and mother of James Hamilton, 6th Earl of Abercorn, inherited Chilston Park. Her son, William Hamilton, later took possession of the estate, passing it down to his own son, John Hamilton. Over time, Chilston Park became the residence of notable figures such as Thomas Best, George Best, and James Stoddart Douglas. It was Aretas Akers, a distinguished Member of Parliament and Home Secretary, who added the name "Douglas" to his family name and became the first Viscount Chilston.

Grazing deer before Chilston Park, Kent Grazing deer before Chilston Park, Kent by Frederick Richard Lee, a 19th-century view of the house across the larger of the two lakes.

A Timeless Architectural Gem

Chilston Park house stands as a testament to architectural expertise and timeless design. The red-brick building, spanning two storeys with an attic floor, was initially constructed as a courtyard house in the late 15th century or early 16th century. Through the years, it has undergone various transformations, with the courtyard being infilled in the 1880s. Today, the house boasts a symmetrical front façade with two projecting side bays and a pedimented central bay, housing a Diocletian window.

Inside, visitors are greeted by an elegant entrance hall adorned with a black-and-white stone floor. Moulded plaster ceilings and cornices, dating back to the second quarter of the 18th century, grace four of the rooms. The central staircase, installed when the courtyard was enclosed, features beautifully carved panelling, believed to be from Royton Chapel.

A Majestic Setting

Surrounded by 78 hectares (190 acres) of Grade II listed parkland, Chilston Park offers a serene and picturesque escape. The parkland, enclosed in the early 18th century by John Hamilton, features formal gardens to the north and south of the house. A large, rectangular lake glistens to the north, while a smaller one lies to the south. The east side of the garden is bordered by a ha-ha, adding to the beauty and tranquility of the surroundings.

A visit to Chilston Park is a journey through time, a chance to experience the elegance and grandeur of a bygone era. Whether you're seeking a romantic getaway, a venue for a special occasion, or simply a retreat from the bustling world, this historic country house hotel offers a unique blend of comfort, history, and natural beauty.

References

  1. Chilston Park - Wikipedia
  2. Chilston Park Official Website
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