This red brick baroque house was built in 1716 for John Blandy and now belongs to Lady Grant and Tweedsmuir, who has developed the family home and gardens into a welcoming place for visitors.
The first manor house was built on the Kingston site in 1542 by John Latton. The one you see now was built by John Blandy in 1715 in the red brick baroque style. It was eventually sold in 1939 to Miss Grace Charlotte Raphael, who did a lot of work to the gardens. They were influenced by her travels to China, Japan, and South Africa, and she employed Sir Harold Hillier to give her advice on planting the Woodland Garden, Shrub Border and Beech Avenue. Her niece, Lady Jean Tweedsmuir, took over the house in 1979 and added more hedges and trees to the garden, and along with her son, Francis Grant, planted trees to celebrate the birth of her grandchildren. Francis died prematurely in 2003 and the Church Copse and Court Close Copse were cleared in his memory, which is where you’ll now find 16 varieties of snowdrops, best seen in February.
The house is open to the public in the summer and you’ll meet members of the family as you explore the ground floor, either solo or with a guide. They encourage you to interact with the house, sitting on chairs and examining the Georgian furniture and paintings. You’ll recognise the hand-painted Chinese wallpaper in the entrance hall from the television series, Downton Abbey, which was partially filmed here.
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