Scotney Castle is a country house with formal gardens south-east of Lamberhurst in Kent, England. It is one of the exciting stops on Celtic Tours new Castles and Gardens Tour of South England. Known for its picturesque and romantic gardens and the ruins of a medieval, moated manor house, you can see why no trip to South England would be complete without a stop to Scotney Castle.
Scotney Castle was built in the 14th century, during great turmoil in the South of England. An interesting feature of the castle were Priest Holes, secret chambers that could be used for hiding priests fleeing state persecution, because Catholicism was illegal in England at the time. The castle is perhaps most famous for the 16th century activities of Father Richard Blount. Father Blount was a Jesuit priest who secretly lived in the castle and conducted religious services for local Kent Catholics. In the late 16th century his location was betrayed and the authorities attempted to capture him. The priest holes of Scotney hid him well and the authorities spent many days looking for him. Blount eventually escaped over a rear wall and out through the moat.
Scotney Castle is not really a castle, but a country house. And Scotney Castle is not one but two house. At the top of the hill is the new house, built in 1837 in Elizabethan style. At the bottom of the valley are the romantic ruins of a medieval castle and moat. The romantic ruins of Scotney Castle serve as a focal point for the Picturesque Style gardens.
The Scotney Garden is considered one of England’s most romantic gardens with a superb display of rhododendrons and azaleas, woodlands and parklands to explore and an 18th century thatched ice-house.