The House at Scotney Castle
**Please note the house remains closed at this time. We are looking forward to welcoming you back for Christmas 2020.** Crammed with paintings, textiles, furniture and books the house feels like the last owner Betty has just popped out to the shops.
A picturesque home
The house was built in 1837 by Edward Hussey III from the sandstone quarried from the grounds of the Old Castle. It is positioned to overlook both the castle and estate, with the garden also designed and created at the same time. This meant that all the three elements: house, garden and estate would work as one in creating a perfect picturesque country home.
The wood panelling and some of the significant furniture was also designed specifically for the house by Salvin which gives a lovely flow of continuity to the home. However the Hussey family were great collectors and hoarders of everything so you will see many influences from different generations as you walk around.
Edward Hussey III spent many happy years here with his wife and children, but only two more generations of the family have lived here since then. It is maybe for that reason that the new house has been little altered. It has always been a welcoming and sociable place, filled with books and paintings, many of which were created by the Husseys.
The attitude which Edward had about his possessions is highlighted in his family motto 'Vix ea nostra voco' which means 'I scarcely call these things our own'.
A brief history of Scotney Castle
Scotney Castle has a long and rich history. The earliest parts of the Old Castle were built in 1378 by Roger de Ashburnham and were added to over the years by both the Darell and Hussey families.
The Hussey family originally came from Worcestershire and moved to this area in the early 1700s. They made their money from the iron industry and continued to pursue their interests in this with leasing partnerships at local Sussex forges. Thomas Hussey I purchased the Scotney estate in 1778.
In the mid-nineteenth century Thomas’ grandson, Edward Hussey III, made arguably the biggest impact on the property in its history, reimagining the estate as a picturesque landscape. Edward and his wife Henrietta had six children who all enjoyed growing up in this idyllic setting.
In the 1830s, Edward Hussey III engaged the architect Anthony Salvin to build a new house at the top of the hill looking across the valley. He had the imagination to transform the Old Castle into a ruin, in order to form the focus of his new landscape garden. As a result it’s now a property primarily celebrated as being one of the most significant survivals of a complete Picturesque vision.
Edward Windsor Hussey (known as Edwy) took over the running of the estate when his father died in 1894. He lived here with his wife Rosamond during both World Wars, hosting evacuees from the Kings’ School in Rochester in 1939.
Edwy’s nephew, Christopher Hussey, took ownership of the house in 1952 and was acutely aware of the decline of the country house in England after the Second World War. He acted to secure the future of the estate by creating six flats in the house which aimed to improve its longevity as a home with the rents providing additional income. He bequeathed the property and collections to the National Trust in 1970.
Scotney Castle has been in the ownership of the National Trust since Christopher Hussey’s death in 1970. The house remained a private residence of his widow, Betty Hussey, until June 2007 when the house first opened to visitors.
Entry to the house is on a timed ticket basis, running every 15 minutes from 11am throughout the week.
These timed tickets give you entry to the house on a self-guided basis, but our friendly team of volunteers will be in each room to help answer your questions.
Tickets are available to obtain on the day, on arrival at Visitor Reception, on a first come first served basis. Tickets cannot be booked in advance but we have plenty available throughout the day. Please be aware that on busy weekends and bank holidays these may sell out.
House accessibilty and virtual tour
There is an access lift available to the ground floor of the mansion house, which is operated by trained staff. Please inform a member of the visitor reception team on arrival if this facility is needed.
A virtual tour of the first floor is provided for those who are unable to use the staircase. Please ask a member of the house team for this facility. Seats are provided around the house for visitors to use.
A full access statement can be downloaded here.