Ightham Mote is a Grade I listed Medieval moated manor house, one of the most complete of its kind, situated in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty approximately thirty miles south-east of London.
The house was originally built in the fourteenth century, circa 1340-60. Its earliest recorded owner and occupier was Sir Thomas Cawne. On his death, it passed to his son-in-law Nicholas Haute, and remained in the Haute family for well over 100 years, until it was purchased by Sir William Clement in 1521. It was later purchased by Sir William Selby in 1591, and remained in the Selby family for just under 300 years.
Ightham Mote was rented out by the American railroad magnate William Jackson Palmer between 1887-89, when it became a centre for members of the Aesthetic Movement. Notable visitors to the house at this time included the artist John Singer Sargent, the writer Henry James, and the actress Ellen Terry.
In 1890, the Mote was bought by Sir Thomas Colyer-Fergusson, who undertook a substantial programme of repairs and restorations, and opened the property to the public on one day a week.
The New Chapel contains a wooden cross commemorating Thomas’s third son Riversdale, who was killed in the First World War, and awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross. Thomas’s first son Max was killed in in the Second World War.
Ightham Mote was eventually acquired by the National Trust in 1985.