|The thumbnails below are linked to larger pictures
Ighthams survival owes much to its seclusion and the modest pretensions of its successive owners, who were squires, sheriffs, Members of Parliament and even courtiers. The last owner was Charles Henry Robinson of Portland Maine USA, who bought it from a consortium of Kentish businessmen in 1953. A bachelor, he bequeathed the house to the National trust on his death in 1985.
The previous owners never aspired to higher office or lavish entertainment and thus refrained from major architectural changes, retaining the buildings bequeathed to them with only minor expansions and additional comforts. Expansions were normally constructed outside of the moat, leaving the main house relatively unchanged.
The walls of the manor house rise sheer from the inner confines of the moat, with the half timbered upper storey projecting above the lower stone walls on some elevations. This together with the castellated tower of the central gatehouse on the west front, accessed via a bridge over the moat, gives a very pleasing appearance that has little changed since first constructed in the middle ages.
There are many rooms to view including The Great Hall, The old and new Chapels, The Drawing Room and Servants Quarters all of which surround the secluded central courtyard. Some rooms are open to the public for the first time in 2004 since the completion of the substantial renovations to the South West Quarter, these include Charles Henry Robinsons private rooms.
All of the furniture has been added since the 1950's when the original contents of the Mote were sold. But this has been skillfully achieved, as usual, by the National Trust. The house is surrounded by a beautiful garden with lakes and woodland, laid out to consciously reflect the original period of the middle ages.
Ightham August 2005
With most of the major restoration works to the South West Quarter of the house now complete, visitors can view and tour the house without the hinderence of scaffolding and contractors.
Ightham May 2006
The principal features of the manor house accumulated over many centuries include the Great Hall dating from 1330, Old Chapel and Crypt, Tudor Chapel with painted ceiling, Drawing Room with Jacobean fireplace, Victorian Billiards Room and the most recent Robinson apartments.
Ightham May 2007
In 1521, Sir Richard Clement bought the Mote for £400, and he was responsible for much of the ornamentation in the house. Having minor associations with Henry VIII, he customarily filled his new home with symbolic tributes to the King, including the stained glass windows in the Great Hall and the painted roof boards of the New Chapel ceiling, both depicting the union of Henry VIII with Catherine of Aragon.