In 1166, Robert de Crevecoeur, Baron of Leeds Castle, converted a number of his estates into Manors at which time his nephew, Nicolas de Kenith, became the first Lord of Lamberhurst.
It was Lord Nicolas who built the original Court Lodge, known as ‘the Halle’, but he gave it to the abbot and convent of Robertsbridge so that he was released from any form of knight’s service to the king. The de Kenith family, and the families who followed them, continued to run the Manor for an annual fee paid to the abbot. This arrangement continued until the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII in the mid-sixteenth century.
Henry then gave the Manor to Henry Sidney of Penshurst Place, and then in 1607, the Sidneys sold it to John Porter, a retired iron-master. The Porter’s were the first Lords of the Manor to live at Court Lodge since the 1200s, and the estate remained in the Porter family until it was sold to William Morland of Westmorland in 1733.
William tore down the original Court Lodge and built the structure that stands today using stone which is thought to have been quarried from the grounds. The foundations of the old house can still be found in the cellars.
The Morland family remained ‘Lords of Lamberhurst Manor’ until 1935, when it was finally disenfranchised and the title retired.
Court Lodge is linked to a number of well known historical figures. The famous eighteenth-century novelist Jane Austen certainly had family associations with the owners of Court Lodge Estate, with more than one marriage taking place between branches of the Austen and Morland families.
In 1803 Jane Austen’s cousin, Colonel Thomas Austen, married Margaretta Morland, which has led many people to believe that Margaretta was immortalised in print as Catherine Morland, heroine of Northanger Abbey. We may never know whether this is true or not, but Court Lodge’s connection to the renowned novelist has certainly been acknowledged by The Jane Austen Society, who have visited and held literary talks at the house.
120 years later Siegfried Sassoon, the celebrated First World War poet, refers obliquely to Court Lodge Estate and the Morland family in his 1928 Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man; mentioning Amblehurst (Lamberhurst), the Maundle (Morland) family, and playing golf on Squire Maundle’s 9-hole golf course “which goes down to the River Neaze” (Teise). This once-private 9-hole course, one of the first courses to be built in the county, now forms part of Lamberhurst Golf Club.
In more modern times, when the house has been divided into flats one was occupied by former UK Prime Minister Margret Thatcher.
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Lamberhurst | Kent | TN3 8DU
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