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The house at Scotney Castle

Scotney Castle's Victorian mansion house in early morning autumn mist
Scotney Castle's Victorian mansion house in early morning autumn mist | © Amanda Glubb

Built in the mid-19th century, the Victorian mansion at Scotney Castle was a later addition to the estate. A well-loved family home to three generations of the Hussey family, it is filled with objects collected through the decades.

A country home

The house was built in 1837 by Edward Hussey III from 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 country home.

The wood panelling and some of the significant furniture items were also designed especially for the house by its architect, Anthony Salvin, which gives a flow of continuity to the home.

Edward Hussey III spent many happy years here with his wife and children, but only two more generations of the family lived here since then. It is perhaps for this reason that the house has been little altered, and you are seeing it today much as it was in the 19th century.

Its last residents were Christopher Hussey, one of the most influential and significant writers on architecture and landscape of the twentieth century, and his wife, Elizabeth (Betty), née Kerr-Smiley.

It has always been a welcoming and sociable place, filled with books and paintings, many of which were created by the Husseys themselves. The family were great collectors and you will see many influences from the different generations as you walk around. The family motto 'Vix ea nostra voco' means 'I scarcely call these things our own'.

About the house

  • Although Victorian, the house is built in the Elizabethan Revival style. Internally, you will see Betty and Christopher Hussey's 1950s' modernisations.
  • The tower, with its crenellated battlement, provides a visual link to the original castle at the bottom of the hill.
  • There is a secret door in the library which is decorated with false book spines with made-up humorous titles.
  • For symmetry, the dining room has four doors, but two are in fact just shallow cupboards, one of which contains a record of the Hussey children's heights as they grew up.
  • In 1979, the house was used as a location set for the film ‘Yanks’ starring Richard Gere. Betty used the location fee to re-fit the kitchen. The house also appears in the recent Netflix hit 'The Sandman'.
  • Margaret Thatcher had an apartment here during her time in office as Prime Minister.

Pieces from the Hussey collection

Take a look at some of the fascinating objects in the house.

Wood chimneypiece, Library, Scotney Castle. A chimneypiece with Solomic columns terminating in Corinthinan capitals to either side of the fireplace, the upper section with two shelves, comprised of figured uprights and decorative panels, to the centre is the quotation 'Since word is thrall / and thought is free / Keep well thy tongue / I counsel thee'.
The chimneypiece in the library at Scotney Castle | © National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel


The carved chimneypiece in the library includes the quote ‘Since word is thrall / and thought is free / Keep well thy tongue / I counsel thee’.

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The mansion house at Scotney Castle in winter

Discover more at Scotney Castle

Find out when Scotney Castle is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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