Built nearly 700 years ago, Ightham Mote has been owned by Medieval knights, courtiers to Henry VIII and high society Victorians.
The original building was a water mill purchased by Sir Thomas Couen around 1340. He proceeded to develop the building to include the Great Hall, an unusual arrangement of two solars and chapel. These buildings were surrounded by a quadrangle moat. On Sir Thomas death on1374, the Mote passed into the Haut family during the 15th century. Sir Richard Haut is believed to have built the upper stages of the gate tower and the west and south wings.
Eventually Ightham was bought by Sir William Selby in 1591, and his family lived there until 1889 when the estate was sold to Thomas Colyer-Fergusson, who refurbished the property. In 1953, Charles Henry Robinson, an American businessman, purchased Ightham and has since left it to the National Trust.
Ightham Mote remains an example of how such houses would have looked in the Middle Ages, as it retains most of its original features; successive owners effected relatively few changes to the main structure, after the completion of the quadrangle with a new chapel in the 16th century.
The construction is of Kentish ragstone and dull red brick, the buildings of the courtyard having originally been built of timber and subsequently rebuilt in stone. The house has more than 70 rooms, all arranged around a central courtyard, surrounded on all sides by a square moat, crossed by three bridges.
The structures include unusual elements, such as the porter's squint, a narrow slit in the wall designed to enable a gatekeeper to examine a visitor's credentials before opening the gate. An open loggia with a fifteenth-century gallery above, connects the main accommodations with the gatehouse range. The courtyard contains a large, 19th century grade I listed dog kennel. The house contains two chapels, of which the New Chapel (1520) has a barrel roof decorated with Tudor roses.