Squerryes Court dates from the 17th century and has been home to the Warde family since 1731. The house has a collection of old master paintings from the Italian, the 17th century Dutch, and the 18th century English schools. Other collections include furniture, porcelain, and tapestries from the 18th century. General Wolfe of Quebec was a family friend and a room is named after him and a cenotaph in his memory is in the garden.
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There are 20 acres of gardens and grounds with a lake, restored parterres planted in 1989, and an 18th century dovecote. The garden was begun in 1686, and in 1709 the Earl of Jersey laid out formal gardens, now gone. Part of the formal garden has been restored by the Ward family who have lived here since 1731. In the spring a large number of daffodils delight; later bluebells take their place. Herbaceous borders and old roses are summer eye candy. There are woodland walks in the wild garden. A Victorian rockery was planted about 1900.
From the front of the house the view looks over a lake with a gazebo on the left that was built c1735 by John Warde. The lake is fed by natural springs and was dug out in a canal shape when the garden was laid out. Originally carp were kept there to eat. In the 18th century the lake was enlarged to its present size and shape.
There was once a double lime avenue leading away on the other side of the lake. Pavilions on either side of the house led down to the lake. The brewhouse, laundry, hen house, and kitchens were located here as well as domestic accommodation. The pavilions were taken down in the 19th century.
Squerryes Court and Gardens
Near the M25/Jct 6, six miles east on the A25, Westerham, Kent.
Tel. 01959 562345.
Open: April-end Sep, Wed, Thu, Sun and BH Mon, grounds from 11.30am-5pm; house from 1-5pm; last admission 4.30pm.
Historic Houses Association member; tea-room serves coffee, tea, lunches, and light refreshments; wedding receptions; conference facilities.