The House at Scotney Castle

Crammed with paintings, textiles, furniture and books the house feels like the last owner Betty has just popped out to the shops.

Welcoming you back

The ground floor of the house is open every day, 11am-4.30pm, via a one-way system. Entry will be controlled via a queue at the front of the house and we advise you visit the house first on arrival. Wheelchair access is available via an alternative entrance, please speak with a member of staff if this is required. 

Please leave any large items or rucksacks in your car. We are unable to store any items for you. In line with government guidelines face masks are optional.  

The Old Castle and upstairs of the house remains closed due to major conservation work planned for this summer.

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.

House accessibilty 

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 full access statement can be downloaded here.