1XXX RESEARCHES AND DISCOVERIES IN KENT.
The water-goblets (Nos. 1 and 9) and cinerary-urn (No. 11)
occurred at a depth of 2 feet 6 inches. The latter contained
calcined bones, and with the w T ater-goblets lay close together on
The base of No. 13 is missing. It was found in the same grave
:is the patera, No. 14, 1 foot 6 inches below the surface.
No. 10 is another specimen of Durobrivian ware of a less ornate
character than No. 8. It was found in hard ground at a depth of
2 feet 6 inches.
The last tind on this land occurred towards the close of last
year (1901). A skull and some unburn! human bones were met
with 2 feet inches below the surface, and with them the vessel
No. 15, which is the only example of Samian ware, all the others,
except Nos. 8 and 10, being Upchurch.
It is somewhat curious to note that all the vases were found in
a recumbent position.
6 inches .
. G i
â€¢ 2 2
The very fine Palaeolithic implement, although found on the
Baine Bpot, has, of course, no connection with the other relics, and
\\;i.- Bimplj introduced in the photograph to till a vacant space.
E. C. Youens.
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BY HENRY TAYLOR, F.S.A.
The appearance of this Essay in the pages of the
Archeeologia, after the interesting paper by Mr.
J. Oldrid Scott, E.S.A. (in Vol. XXIV.), needs a few
words of explanation.
In the years 1899 and 1900 I had the pleasure of
accompanying Mr. Scott to the building, and in our
repeated perambulations of the older parts we came
to the conclusion that certain architectural problems
could not be solved until careful plans and sections
to a large scale had been made.
Mr. Scott's paper being then in print, and required
by the Editor, I undertook to write a short supple-
mentary architectural history of the building, dealing
with some of the questions referred to above, and
more particularly in explanation of the accompanying
plans, which have been made by Mr. Spencer Sills of
Hitherto the views of Ightham Mote have repre-
sented the house in a piecemeal manner, from sketches
made from various points inside and outside of the
quadrangle ; but a bird's-eye perspective picture, like
the accompanying excellent drawing by Miss Drake
of Rochester, is the only possible way of adequately
vol. xxvii. b
Z IGHTHAM MOTE.
representing the general features and arrangements of
a quadrangular building.
The members of this Society are probably also
more or less acquainted with the description of the
house by Major-General C. E. Luard, published in
The Builder for 15th July, 1893, and reprinted in
Several of the problems discussed by him with
much ability I have not entered upon here, and my
Paper must, therefore, to a certain extent, be also
considered as supplementary to his work.
The buildings and re-buildings having been so very
numerous and complicated, I have thought it well to
make no attempt to discriminate them on the plans
by a variety of shading.
The delightful gardens and romantic surroundings
of Ightham Mote have often been described. The
place is indeed a picture and a poem ; but it is foreign
to my present undertaking to deal with matters of
this kind, and for the same reason little or no detail is
given in these pages as to the history of the families who
have, for so many centuries, lived here in succession.
I must therefore refer those who desire information
on these subjects to the various County Histories, and
to the papers by Major-General Luard, the Rev.
C. E. Woodruff, and Mr. J. Oldrid Scott, and to the
accompanying pedigree of the Selby family, compiled
by Mr. T. C. Colyer-Fergussou. Suffice it here to say
that the house stands in charming grounds and amid
venerable trees, near the bottom of a well- wooded
valley in a secluded position, about 25 miles in a south-
easterly direction from London, and 6 miles north of
the town of Tonbridge.
Before proceeding to describe the house itself, in
To She,. (,â€žâ€ž,â€ž,.
SO SO JO SO
IGHTIIAM MOTE. .i
which the chief interest centres, it may ho well to
spend a few minutes in glancing at the accompanying
block plan of the whole premises.
We notice here an outer quadrangle to the west of
the mansion, measuring ahout 160 feet from east to
west, and 90 feet from north to south. At its westerly
end are ancient buildings in half-timbered architecture,
highly picturesque in character, now used chiefly as
cottages, but once in part as stahling.
The passage through the centre of this group of
buildings was, I understand, at one time the chief or
only entrance to the house, the present carriage drive
from the south being of comparatively modern date.
The Jacobean fittings of the old stabling have been
removed to the newer stables near the south-easterly
corner of the moat.
The house, as we find it to-day, after endless
rebuildings, additions, and alterations, consists of a
completed quadrangle, surrounded by a moat filled by
springs from the adjacent rising ground. The water
overflows from it in a southerly direction, into a large
pond or lake. The moat is about 30 feet wide on the
south and west sides of the house, 20 feet on the north,
and averages 18 feet on the east.
Externally, the measurements of the house are as
follows : The west or gate house front, 108 feet ; the
eastern, 110 feet ; the south or kitchen side, 120 feet ;
and the north 122 feet.
The chief archa3ological interest of the building is
centred in the eastern block, which contains, amidst a
multiplicity of other apartments, the great hall or ban-
quetting room, and the old chapel, which, as will appear
hereafter, are of the Decorated period of architecture.
Although we thus find unmistakeably a date
4 IGHTHAM MOTE.
unusually early in the annals of English Domestic
Architecture, it hy no means follows that an earlier
house may not have been built on this site.
In endeavouring to trace the dates of the various
portions of the mansion we may, with a fair amount
of certainty, conclude that the builders followed more
or less unconsciously the numerous precedents which
are to be found in this and other counties; and that
the eastern block, containing the great hall, chapel,
kitchens, and a few living and bedrooms, measuring
roughly 110 feet by 50 feet, was the only part of the
original house ; and that side wings and gate house
were added as wealth increased or opportunity
favoured.* Owing to these almost endless alterations
and additions, the floors are of very varying levels.
A clue to some of the interesting architectural
problems which face us here is to he found in the
influence of the sun's rays upon generations of previous
In early Mediseval times little attention was
given â€” in the placing and planning of houses â€” to
the important matters of climate, aspect, or prospect :
for military exigencies often settled these questions in
a summary manner.
The most elementary treatise on house-planning
tells us that the family wing of a mansion should be
to the south and west, and the kitchens to the north
and east; but at Ightham Mote the kitchens were
placed to the south of the great hall or heart of
the building, and the family apartments to the north.
When the owner (whoever he was) in Tudor times
* Little .Morel. hi Hull, in Cheshireâ€” a celebrated buildingâ€” the architectural
history of which I have traced and recorded in vol. xi. N. S. of the Lancashire
and Cheshire Historic 8ocietv and elsewhere, allbrds an almost exact parallel in
ihi- paatter of gradual extension,
IGHTHAM MOTE. 5
built the new chapel in the north wing, and made
other extensive alterations in the mansion, it is
obvious that considerations of this kind never crossed
his mind ; for, had he at that time grasped the
importance of such ideas he would doubtless have
reversed the arrangements of his predecessors, trans-
ferring the kitchens and servants' apartments to the
north side of the quadrangle ; he would have made
the present lofty kitchens into a magnificent ball-
room or withdrawing room, and have devoted the
whole of the south wing and a portion of the west
to family uses.
A more customary and convenient position for the
new chapel would have been north of the gate house,
in the west side of the quadrangle, more easily
accessible for tenants from the outside than is that
chosen by the builder in Henry VIII. 's time.
The kitchen apartments would thus have been con-
veniently all together, whereas some of them are now
at the southern end of the building, and others in the
extreme north, separated by a multiplicity of narrow
winding and dark passages, and quite 100 feet apart.
Probably, however, the question of the orientation
of the chapels may have had a determining influence
on some of these arrangements. In early Mediaeval
times indeed an almost superstitious regard was paid
to this subject.*
* I ma}' mention as an instance the highly interesting house, Old Soar, in
this locality, built at the same time (about the reign of Edward II.) and loop-
holed for defence, standing in an isolated position two and a half miles south-easl
from the village of Ightham. Here the domestic chapel was built at an angle
of the house apparently square with it, but in reality twisted round so a- to
orientate with extreme precision. This peculiarity, however, is not shewn on the
plans which appeared in a previous volume <>t the Archceo/ofjia, nor on the plan
in Parker's Domestic Architecture. Another remarkable instance occurs at
Qoghton Tower, near Preston, a plan of which is given in my work on Old
Halls in Lancashire and Cheshire.
6 ightham mote.
The Great Hall or Banquetting Boom.
The date of this apartment is fixed unerringly by
the mouldings of the doors, windows, and roof, and by
the character of the corbels which support it.
They all belong to the Decorated period of archi-
tecture, which lasted from about the year 1270 to the
year 13S0, covering a good part of the reigns of tbe
first three Edwards and of Richard II.
The accompanying table of architectural periods
may perhaps prove of some use to the non- professional
The apartment is 30 feet long and 20 feet wide, and
measures from floor to ridge of roof 37 feet 6 inches,
and from floor to top of wall plate 19 feet. At the
end of the room, opposite the high table, and thus in
the customary place, were twin doors leading the one
to the kitchen and the other to the buttery or pantry.
One of these has been converted into a cupboard, but
the other remains intact. An arcade of three doors is,
however, often found in this position, as at Penshurst,
leading respectively to kitchen, buttery, and pantry.
A third opening in this wall was made in 1872
during the alterations carried out by Mr. Norman
Shaw, u lieu the outer door was screened off from the
hall lor the purpose of making the room more habit-
able. The wall pierced by these doors is Â£ feet in
thickness. The other walls of this room are only
2 feet inches thick.
It is don hi t'nl it' die customary "through passage"
al the servants' end of the hall ever existed here, for
the position of the beautiful Decorated window on the
south side of the fireplace seems to preclude the
possibility of our entertaining any such idea. This
TABLE OP ARCHITECTURAL PERIODS.
Henry II. 1154
Richaed I. 1189
TIknky III. 1216
Edward I. 1272
Edward II. 1307
Edward III. 1327
Richard II. 1377
Henry IV. 1399
Henry V. 1413
Henry VI. 1422
Edward IV. 1461
Edward V. 1483
Richard III. 1483
Henry VII. 1485
Henry VIII. 1509
Edward VI. 1" l"
James I. 1603
CHARLES 1. 1625
( lOMMONWEAl I'M 1649
Charles II. 1660
8 IGUTUAM MOTE.
window is of two lights ; it is transomed, and the head
tilled with characteristic delicate tracery. The grace-
ful curtain arch demands especial notice.
Hardly any daylight now enters the great hall
through this window, for the ancient courtyard to the
east of it â€” ahout 20 feet square â€” has heen filled up
with outhouses used for dairy and other purposes. A
reminiscence of the traditional through passage is,
however, suggested by the position of the ancient east !
doorway and bridge over the moat, which are almost
exactly opposite to the west entrance door of the great
hall ; but to cross the moat from the quadrangle over
tiiis bridge a circuitous route through various apart-
ments has to be taken.
In the middle of a Midsummer day a blaze of light
enters the apartment through a fine five-light window
in the west wall. It is of the Perpendicular period,
and is clearly an insertion, possibly taking the place
of either one or two windows, which would match that
just described, with transom and curtain arch.
'Ihe fireplace (7 feet in width) is exactly in the
middle of the east wall, and is of a comparatively late
date, possibly superseding one coeval with the older
parts of the house; although it must be remembered
that in houses of early date this apartment was fre-
quently warmed by braziers, or indeed not at all. The
first of these alternatives receives support, however,
from the eccentric position of the stone arch, which
crosses the room on the southerly side of the fireplace.
A more sensible place; for it would have been mid-
way between the north and south walls, so as to
equalize the bearing of those of the roof timbers
which rest upon it; but the builders probably put it
some feet more to the south so that it should not rest
â– I â€”
IGHTIIAM MOTE. \)
on the thin tympanum wall of the bell-mouthed fire-
We find here, in the steep pitch and loftiness of the
roof, a feature characteristic of these early halls ; it is
open timbered and constructed with framed spars,
those against the two gable walls being elaborated
into half principals, carried by carved corbels in the
angles of the apartment.
The roof is strengthened by a longitudinal beam
placed immediately under the collars of the framed
spars. The bearing is shortened by curved moulded
struts from each end of the apartment and from each
side of the stone arch.
This method of strengthening roof timbers has
been too much abandoned by modern architects for
economy's sake ; for such strutting adds much to the
rigidity of the roof.*
The corbel in the south-east corner consists of a
grotesque human figure, crushed down by the weight
of the roof which rests upon it. One arm helps to
bear the weight of the head.
In the south-west angle of the room the corbel
represents a man w r ith drapery over his head, carrying
the weight on a cushion on his back. He is "making
a mouth," that is, two of the fingers of each hand are
pulling his mouth open at the corners.
The north-eastern corbel represents a female
figure playing on a drum; her shoulders bear the
The corbel in the north-west corner shews a male
figure seated ; hands on knees, shoulders carrying
* An excellent example is to be seen in the great roof of the Cloth Hall
10 IGHTHAM MOTE.
The stone arch described above is similarly
supported. The carvings are of an interesting kind.
That in the east wall represents a male figure seated,
smiling humorously, right hand twisted round to
carry weight ; book on right knee, hand on left knee.
The corbel in the west wall : male figure kneeling
on right knee, weight on back, right hand on hip,
helping to support weight of arch ; head on left hand,
elbow on knee.
The pointed doorway in the northerly end of the
east wall, leading off to the principal staircase, old
chapel, and at one time the family apartments, is of
the Decorated period, resembling the other work of
that date in this house in its delicate beauty and
Additional evidence â€” if that were wanting â€” as to
the early date of the apartment is to be found in the
absence of so many features, which by a process of
evolution came to be added in the course of time, from
the fourteenth to the beginning of the seventeenth
century, to supply the wants of an increasingly
The earliest halls were little more than stately
barns with grand and massive roofs, with the high
table on its step or steps at one end of the room, and
sometimes a log fire burning in tin; middle. At meal
times tin' servants brought in their tables, trestles,
and tonus. The windows were few and small, and for
safety and seclusion often raised many feet above the
floor. Doors led oil' from the high table to the family
single Living room or rooms, and doors at the other end
to the kitchen and servants' apart ments. There were,
besides, doors al each end of the usual through passage.
The process of evolution then began. The blinding
IGHTHAM MOTE. 11
smoke from the wood fire on the central hearth was 90
unendurable that a louvre in the roof over it had to
The draughts were so wild from the imperfectly
heated apartment, and from the six or seven doors
which opened into it, that a canopy came to be placed
right across the room over the high table, and a screen
across the opposite end, shutting off the wind from
the doors there.
Then the need of amusement was felt, and a
gallery for musicians and strolling players was placed
over the screens, so that performances could be
witnessed by persons seated at the high table.
The apartments in these early halls were very few.
In later times, to escape the boisterous mirth which
ensued after dinner, the ladies retired to a withdrawing
room or smaller hall, access to which was had by one
or two doors behind the high table ; but a refuge was
often made by the insertion of a great bay window or
ladies' bower, at one or sometimes at both ends of the
high table, as at Speke Hall, Lancashire, and Harden
Ilall, Cheshire. This recess or snuggery occasionally
had a small fireplace in it, and on plan it varied
greatly : sometimes it was square ; in other cases it
terminated hexagonally, octagonally, or formed part
of a duodecagon.
The louvre in the roof was a clumsy contrivance,
for though it let out some of the smoke, it let down a
vast amount of icily cold air, and so it came to be
abolished, as at Rufford, where this structure remains,
but is boarded up underneath.
A great fireplace or inglenook was then usually
inserted in one of the side walls. At RuiVord this
was done when the dilapidated south wall was rebuilt
12 IGHTHAM MOTE.
in late Tudor times in stone. But the largest fire in
cold weather would hardly raise the temperature above
freezing point ; and in modern times, when the owners
of some of these old houses have begun again to use
this apartment, a heating apparatus of some kind has
been found to be absolutely necessary.
At Ightham Mote the features of a fully developed
great hall, when the apartment had reached its climax
towards the end of the reign of Henry VIII., are
mostly wanting. They are, as we have seen, the dais
step and canopy, the through passage and screens, the
musicians' gallery, and the ladies' bower.
The rise, decline, and practical abolition of this
apartment in the history of English houses during the
Mediaeval period can be readily seen by glancing at
the numerous plans in my book on Old Halls in
Lancashire and Cheshire^ which range from early in
the fourteenth century, as at Baguley Hall in Cheshire,
to many like Hoghton Tower, built two centuries
afterwards. In these later houses, all the features
which had by degrees been found to be desirable or
necessary were embodied in the plan before the house
was built, as a matter of course.
The great hall at Ightham Mote has in compara-
tively recent times been handsomely panelled round
in oak, and the walls above it are decorated with line
The Early Chapel and Crypt.
Contiguous to the great hall and fronting the moat
is a cellar or crypt, vaulted over with pointed stone
arching, the scheme of which is shown on the accom-
panying ground plan. It measures internally ID feet
IGHTHAM MOTE. 13
from east to west and 11 feet G inches from north to
south. The walls are nearly d feel thick. The room
is lit by a two-li"ht window of Decorated date in its
east wall. Above the crypt there is, at the present
time, a two-storied building, in which it is obvious
there have been from time to time various alterations.
There can be little doubt, I think, that this
structure was once the Domestic Chapel, superseded
and converted into two bedrooms by the insertion of
a floor and fireplaces. The work would be done
when the newer chapel in the north wing of the
building was erected in the sixteenth century. The
bedroom immediately above the crypt is now lit by a
three-light window, and that above it by a two-light
window, both in the middle of the east wall.
Some recent alterations in the upper bedroom and
the removal of the plaster have revealed the existence
of a fine open-timbered wagon-shaped roof of massive
The height from the floor of the bottom bedroom
to the underside of the collar or tie-beam of the framed
spars is about 19 feet, and its size on plan is 22 feet
6 inches from east to west and 13 feet 6 inches from
north to south.
At the west end of the lower bedroom is a beautiful
stone doorway, with moulded capitals and arch of the
Decorated period, and in the same wall, but more to
the south, is a partially blocked-up opening between
this apartment and the oriel room of the same archi-
tectural period as the door.
It has a beautifully moulded and cusped head, and
is 1 foot 9 inches in width and 2 feet 1< inches in
height. The sill is 2 feet 2 inches from the floor.
This opening is mortised for iron stanchions, and
14 IGHTHA.M MOTE.
appears to have been made so that persons in the oriel
room could take part in the services. It has been
suggested that this hole or recess was at one time
a piscina, but the position negatives this conjecture ;
and it is not likely to have been an aumbrey.
Mr. Scott, after a careful examination of the three-
light window, came to the conclusion that it was of
the Decorated period. He writes : " The window
has lost its head, but if it is looked at from the outside,
it will be seen that the section of its jambs and
mullions arc identical with those of a two-light
window below [the crypt window], which retains its
fourteenth-century head and cusping."
It is likely, therefore, that this was the lower
portion of a fine and lofty window, with a pointed
head, and that when the alterations were made its
upper portion was removed and the present lintel
inserted ; and at the same time the two-light window
above it was placed in the present position to light the
The gable, indeed, was probably at this time in
whole or in part rebuilt. An alternative hypothesis is,
that the chapel had always a flat ceiling, and that the
room over it was the Priests' apartment.
That the fireplaces in these two rooms were
inserted in Tudor times is clear from their archi-
tect ural character.
The Oriel Room.
This room, which lias undergone various alterations
in the course of time. \v;is as lias already been men-