Plaxtol, Kent
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Plaxtol, Kent, England

The Culpeper Family at Old Soar

Standing two miles from Plaxtol village, Old Soar Manor consists of only six rooms on two floors, including a chapel. Built by the Culpeper of Aylesford family in 1290, it has been described as being a remarkable example of an unspoiled knightly dwelling of the reign of Edward I, and one of the most notable survivors of 13th century domestic architecture.

Walter Culpeper4a died circa 1327 with it in his possession, and it continued in the Culpeper family until Sir Thomas Culpeper13a sold it in 1601 to Nicholas Miller for £2000. Walter, custodian of Leed's Castle, was executed after incurring the King’s displeasure over an incident when Walter refused Queen Isabella, wife of Edward II, admission to the Castle.

(Hasted's Kent, Vol. V, pp 22-23.)

Old Soar "Haunted House" Story

Old Soar, Plaxtol, Kent, Oct 1999
Old Soar Manor, Plaxtol, Kent
Photograph taken by Warren Culpepper
October 1999

Location: On Old Soar Road, 2.5 miles S of Borough Green, 13 miles NW of Goudhurst and  9 miles WSW of Maidstone.
National Grid Coordinates:
TQ 618 542

Fairlawn Manor

Fairlawn was anciently the estate of the family of Bavent. Subsequently, it was held by the Culpeper family. At the time of his death in 1327, Walter Culpeper4a, who also held Old Soar (above), held Fairlawn in frank fee of Roger de Bavent, in which name it continued until about 1410, when it was sold to John Chowne.  (Hasted's Kent, Vol. V, pp 23-24.)

Location: S of Plaxtol Lane and W of the A-227, 1 mile W of Plaxtol, 14 miles NW of Goudhurst and  10 miles WSW of Maidstone.

National Grid Coordinates: TQ 594 535

Fairlawn Manor, March 2000
Fairlawn Manor, March 2000
Photo taken by Warren Culpepper

Of the 50+ old Culpeper English manors and estates visited and photographed by me during my visits in October 1999 and March 2000, this was the only home from which I was rudely treated. As I was attempting to take a photo from outside the gate, a security guard ordered me away and called the police. I later quietly slipped back and hurriedly snapped the above photograph.  - Warren Culpepper

Plaxtol, Kent

Location: 10 miles W of Maidstone off the A227; 12 miles NW of Goudhurst.
National Grid Coordinates: TQ 602 536

A row of traditional Kentish weatherboard cottages flanks the side of the parish church of Plaxtol, a hilly village occupying a prominent location on the ridge near Ightham Mote. Just to the east of the village, and reached through a circuitous succession of narrow lanes, is Old Soar Manor, a manor house built in the 13th century. The house occupies the solar block of the original building, which served as a knight's dwelling. Of particular interest are the undercrofts below it, with graceful vaults curving upwards.

The setting of Old Soar Manor is idyllic, with orchards and copses surrounding it. The woods grow more dense as they climb the ridge rising up from the orchards; at the top is one of southern England's largest forests, Mereworth Woods. Wild boar once roamed through its oaks and beeches, although today the wildlife is of a tamer variety.

Even closer to Plaxtol, but in the opposite direction from Old Soar Mansion, is Ightham Mote, one of England's finest Medieval manor houses. This gem of a building, owned by the National Trust, is set in a narrow wooded valley roughly halfway between Plaxtol and the even smaller village of Ivy Hatch. A moat surrounds the house, although the name "mote" probably refers instead to an Old English word meaning "meeting place".

Ightham Mote was built in the 14th century, with its central courtyard retaining the meeting-place purpose. The outside walls, above the moat, are of soft rag-stone, which catches the evening light with a warm glow. The construction inside utilized great amounts of local oak, with massive timbers still very much in evidence in the rafters and central hall (the solar), as well as in the main staircase, built in Jacobean times.

Igtham Mote - Culpepper Connection. James Morton-Robertson lives in the village of Kemsing, between Sevenoaks and Plaxtol, and he wrote on 15 Nov 2008: "Ightham Mote which is near Plaxtol has a strong Culpepper connection.  Their coat of arms are displayed on one of the stained glass windows.  Other images include the pomegranate of Catherine of Aragon.

Ightham Mote Location: On Mote Road, west of the A-227.
National Grid Coordinates
: TQ 586 534

Source: Sean Connolly, Ed., "Plaxtol", The Hidden Places of Kent, Travel Publishing, Ltd., 1998., pages 51-52.

Ightham Mote "Haunted House" Story

Also See:
bulletWrotham, Kent
bulletWest Peckham, Kent
bulletAylesford, Kent
bulletHadlow, Kent
bulletDukes Place
bulletPreston Hall
bulletOxen Hoath

Last Revised: 02 Jan 2015


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