Bedgebury Manor
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Bedgebury Manor
Goudhurst, Kent, England

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Bedgebury Manor, now a school (photo from school web site, Oct 1999)


In 1425, Walter Culpeper7 of Goudhurst married Agnes Roper, the young and childless widow of John Bedgebury. (John is recorded as being at the battle of Agincourt where he "took five archers into the field") Through the marriage, the estate of Bedgebury came into the Culpeper family where it remained for about 250 years.

Alexander11 entertained Queen Elizabeth at Bedgebury in 1573 and was knighted. Elizabeth wrote, "Friday, August 7th, went to Mr Culpeper at Bedgebury to supper, stayed the night, dined the following day, knighted Mr Culpeper at Rye on Wednesday 11th."  Sir Alexander presented Queen Elizabeth with "an elegant silver cup with cover, on the lip of which was a tuft of flowers." Sir Alexander encouraged iron foundries ("Furnaces and Forge Farms") on his estate and cast guns for the fleet which defeated the Spanish Armada

Bedgebury passed from Sir Alexander Culpeper13 (1581-1639) to his brother, William13, a Royalist, "greatly impoverished by the war." William's son, Thomas14 succeeded to Bedgebury, sold the estate to Sir Thomas Hayes in 1660, and ended his life on 19 Feb 1675 in Fleet, a debtor's prison.

The ancient moated house was swept away and its site covered by one of the four lakes now present. The present mansion was built towards the close of the seventeenth century by Sir James Hayes. It is a square pile of red brick, faced with sandstone, and increased in size and imposing adornment by successive owners. Wings were added by Field-Marshall Lord Beresford, who purchased the estate in 1836; and his Lordship's heir, the Rt. Hon A. J. B. Beresford-Hope, recast it in the French taste of the Louis XIV period, with a Mansard roof and a lofty clock tower. The interior was rich in ornamented ceiling, paintings, carvings and other objects of exquisite art. (Source: W. T. Simmons' Cranbrook Almanac, 1910)

Today Bedgebury Manor is used for the facilities of Bell Bedgebury International School, a boarding school for international students, and the vast lands have been reduced to 220 acres surrounding the school. It is about a mile and a half deeper into the weald to the south of Goudhurst and may be seen from the high St. Mary’s Church yard or the upper rear windows of the Star & Eagle hotel which is by the church.

Dates, Ownership (Monarch)

bullet815-1425: The Bedgebury Family
bullet1425-1462: Walter Culpeper7 *
(Edward IV)
bullet1462-1480: Sir John Culpeper8 *
(Edward IV)
bullet1480-1541: Sir Alexander Culpeper9
(Edward IV, Edward V, Richard III, Henry VII, Henry VIII)
bullet1541-1558: Sir Thomas Culpeper10
(Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary)
bullet1558-1598: Sir Alexander Culpeper11
bullet1598-1618: Sir Anthony Culpeper12
(Elizabeth, James I)
bullet1618-1639: Sir Alexander Culpeper13
(James I, Charles I)
bullet1639-c1659: William Culpeper13
(Charles I, Commonwealth)
bulletc1659-1660: Thomas Culpeper14
(Charles II)
bullet1660-1836: The Hayes family
bullet1836-?: The Beresford family

* Walter and Sir John, the 7th and 8th generation of known Culpepers, are direct ancestors of the modern-day Culpeppers. They owned Bedgebury from 1425-1480. Their Culpepper descendants, but not direct ancestors of the modern-day branch, continued to hold Bedgebury for another two centuries.

Bedgebury Manor (Bell Bedgebury School) Location

2 miles S of Goudhurst, on east side of the B-2079
National Grid Coordinates: TQ 721 344

Also See

bulletBedgebury Manor, Page 2
bulletBedgebury Manor, Page 3
bulletGoudhurst and St. Mary's Church

Last Revised: 02 Jan 2015

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