Wednesday 11th April-Kent Country Visit


Kent Country Visit 

Sprivers, Horsmonden is a mid-C18 pretty pink brick manor house, but masking the medieval timber-framed hall house of the Sprivers family.  The Bathursts, related to the Bathursts of Franks Hall, Kent (1591, ancestors of Earl Bathurst) and Finchcocks (1725) both in west Kent, owned the estate through C16 and C17.  Sold in 1704 to John Courthope, ironmaster, whose son Alexander (portrait by Thomas Hudson at Sprivers) encased the hall house in 

brick, adding stable block and new E extension as the principal 5-bay elevation 1756.  Striking plaster Rococo cartouches in the hall framing arms of Courthope and related families, enriched modillion cornices throughout.

Mere House, Mereworth is the only known house by the Greek revival protagonist Nicholas Revett, built on a new site as the rectory for Lord Le Despencer (the notorious Sir Francis Dashwood) 1780; altered and extended c 1830 and 1876 (George Crickmay). Small park and lake also 1780. Tessa Wells will provide lunch.

St Lawrence’s Church, Mereworth ('the outstanding C18 church' in Kent with a basilican interior 'unprecedented in Georgian England'

Matfield House, Matfield (Grade I) was built for Thomas and Mary (née Bold) Marchant in 1728, probably by the same hand (influenced by Thomas Archer) as the Baroque Finchcocks. Contemporary coach house and stables with handsome oversized clock tower and cupola. Internally much original panelling, chimneypieces and oak staircase with 3 different balusters per tread.  The Marchants sold Matfield House in 1952 and since 1960 it has been the home of the Garthwaite family.  Sarah  Garthwaite will provide tea.

Andrew Wells leads. Lunch with wine is included.