History

The house takes its name from the family who built it © National Trust

The house takes its name from the family who built it

Origins

Fit for a king

Do you think a king would have enjoyed staying here?

Do you think a king would have enjoyed staying here?

George I stayed at the house after a storm drove his ship ashore at Camber in 1726, Lamb House was considered the most suitable accommodation and James Lamb gave up his bed to the King for several days in the room now known as the King’s Room. In 1832 George Augustus Lamb sold the house to a wealthy local banker.

Literary connections

Famous past occupiers include:

  • Henry James
  • E.F.Benson
  • Sir Brian Batsford
  • Rummer Godden

The Henry James connection

The American novelist discovered Rye and Lamb House quite by chance whilst visiting an architect friend. He was enchanted by the house and delighted when the chance came to lease it in 1897. He bought it two years later.

The perfect spot for writing

When Henry James came to live here, he was already an established author

When Henry James came to live here, he was already an established author

James wrote three of his novels here, The Wings of the Dove, The Ambassadors and The Golden Bowl. He wrote in the Garden Room, a self-contained building next to the house built in 1743 as a separate banqueting room and destroyed in 1940 during a bombing raid. Lamb House appeared as Mr Longdon’s home in James’s novel, The Awkward Age.

The house became a centre for James’s wide circle of literary friends, including H.G.Wells, Joseph Conrad, Rudyard Kipling, Max Beerbolm, Hilaire Beloc G.K.Chesterton, Compton Mackenzie and Ford Maddox Ford.

James spent the majority of his time in Rye but died in London in 1916. It was his wish to return to Lamb House during his final days but was too ill to be moved.

Lamb House was featured in E. F. Benson's Mapp and Lucia books © National Trust

Lamb House was featured in E. F. Benson's Mapp and Lucia books

The E.F. Benson connection

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