The history of Scotney Castle
Discover the long and rich history of Scotney Castle, dating from the 12th century. The Hussey family lived here from 1778 and, in the 1830s, were responsible for transforming the estate into the perfect country house. Three generations of the Hussey family called Scotney Castle home before it opened to visitors in 2007.
In the beginning
The earliest record of occupancy on the land dates from 1137, and the oldest parts of the Old Castle were built in 1378 by Roger de Ashburnham.
Edward Hussey I purchased the Scotney estate in 1778. The Hussey family originally came from Worcestershire and moved to this area in the early 18th century. They made their money from the iron industry and continued their interest in this by working with local Sussex forges.
A picturesque vision
In the 1830s Edward's grandson, Edward Hussey III, transformed the estate. He hired architect Anthony Salvin to build a new house at the top of the hill overlooking the valley. Edward Hussey III had the imagination to transform the Old Castle into a ruin to act as the focus of his new landscape garden.
As a result of his vision, Scotney Castle is now celebrated as one of the most significant survivals of a complete Picturesque landscape. Edward and his wife Henrietta had six children who all enjoyed growing up in this idyllic setting.
A home for evacuees
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.
Securing the future
Edwy’s nephew, Christopher Hussey, took ownership of the house in 1952. He was very aware of the decline of the country house in England after the Second World War and acted to secure the future of the estate by creating six flats in the house to improve its longevity as a home and provide income.
Christopher bequeathed Scotney Castle and its collection to the National Trust in 1970. The house remained the home of his widow, Betty Hussey, until June 2007 when it was first opened to visitors.
Explore the picturesque garden and wider estate at Scotney Castle, from walled garden to woodland and year-round colour.
From secret doors to ornate furniture and amazing collections of art, costume, books and silverware, find out about the house at Scotney Castle and how the Hussey family made it a home.
Growing and harvesting hops is a big part of the Scotney Castle estate’s history. Discover Anne’s story, who picked hops nearby in the 1950s.
As the days get a bit chillier there's nothing better than coming in from a walk on the estate to a bowl of delicious, warming homemade soup in the tea-room.
Discover what happens behind the scenes to care for the house and garden at Scotney Castle in Kent.