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Kent, United Kingdom
12th century-16th century
The origins of the house date from circa 1340-1360. The earliest recorded owner is Sir Thomas Cawne, who was resident towards the middle of the 14th century. The house passed by marriage to the Haut(e)s, Richard Haut being Sheriff of Kent in the late 15th century. It was then purchased by Sir Richard Clement in 1521. In 1591, Sir William Selby bought the estate.
16th century-late 19th century
The house remained in the Selby family for nearly 300 years. Sir William was succeeded by his nephew, also Sir William, who is notable for handing over the keys of Berwick-upon-Tweed to James I on his way south to succeed to the throne. He married Dorothy Bonham of West Malling but had no children. The Selbys continued until the mid-19th century when the line faltered with Elizabeth Selby, the widow of a Thomas who disinherited his only son. During her reclusive tenure, Joseph Nash drew the house for his multi-volume illustrated history Mansions of England in the Olden Time, published in the 1840s. The house passed to a cousin, Prideaux John Selby, a distinguished naturalist, sportsman and scientist. On his death in 1867, he left Ightham to a daughter, Mrs Lewis Marianne Bigge. Her second husband, Robert Luard, changed his name to Luard-Selby. She died in 1889. The executors of her son Charles Selby-Bigge, a Shropshire land agent, put the house up for sale in July 1889.
Late 19th century-21st century
The Mote was purchased by Thomas Colyer-Fergusson. He and his wife brought up their six children at the Mote. In 1890-1891, he carried out much repair and restoration, which allowed the survival of the house after centuries of neglect. Ightham Mote was opened to the public one afternoon a week in the early 20th century.
Sir Thomas Colyer-Fergusson's third son, Riversdale, died aged 21 in 1917 in the Third Battle of Ypres, and won a posthumous Victoria Cross. A wooden cross in the New Chapel is in his memory. The oldest brother, Max, was killed at the age of 49 in a bombing raid on an army driving school near Tidworth in 1940 during World War II. One of the three daughters, Mary (called Polly) married Walter Monckton.
On Sir Thomas's death in 1951, the property and the baronetcy passed to Max's son, James. The high costs of upkeep and repair of the house led him to sell the house and auction most of the contents. The sale took place in October 1951 and lasted three days. It was suggested that the house be demolished to harvest the lead on the roofs, or that it be divided into flats. Three local men purchased the house: William Durling, John Goodwin and John Baldock. They paid £5,500 for the freehold, in the hope of being able to secure the future of the house.
In 1953, Ightham Mote was purchased by Charles Henry Robinson, an American of Portland, Maine, United States. He had known the property when stationed nearby during the Second World War. He lived there for only fourteen weeks a year for tax reasons. He made many urgent repairs, and partly refurnished the house with 17th-century English pieces. In 1965, he announced that he would give Ightham Mote and its contents to the National Trust. He died in 1985 and his ashes were immured just outside the crypt. The National Trust took possession in that year.
In 1989, the National Trust began an ambitious conservation project that involved dismantling much of the building and recording its construction methods before rebuilding it. During this process, the effects of centuries of ageing, weathering, and the destructive effect of the deathwatch beetlere highlighted. The project ended in 2004 after revealing numerous examples of structural and ornamental features which had been covered up by later additions.
Info Taken from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ightham_…