Swanton Hall sits on the crest of the North Downs of Kent in England, between the ancient villages of Bredgar and Hollingbourne on the pilgrim’s route to Canterbury. It is surrounded by its grounds and then fruit orchards in what is truly the garden of England.
The main house was extensively redesigned by the London goldsmith Edward Holiday in 1719, building on an earlier Jacobean house. Influenced by his own professional attention to exquisite detail, the house is a carefully shaped jewel in its rural setting.
In Pevsner’s Buildings of England, the house is described as:
“…A fabulous display of virtuoso brickwork…It would be tedious to describe all that goes on across the five bays: how the parapet curves up to gain a third storey in the centre; how the windows sport aprons above and exaggerated key-blocks above, balancing absurd bracket-like projections on their heads; how doorway and windows are rounded and rusticated for emphasis. Indeed everything is emphasized, which is what makes one love the design but not respect the designer too much.”
Probably also influenced by his London neighbour and friend, the composer Handel, Swanton draws on English Baroque style for its façade. The brick work is carefully refined and detailed. Downe’s book on English Baroque Architecture describes the house:
“One of the most attractive brick houses of the period is one near Bredgar, Kent, dated 1719, of dark red and light red rubbed brick; the corbels above and the aprons below the windows produce a lively wall and it is evident from the repetition of the modillions of the centre cornice at the ends that the latter were conceived as giant pilaster strips.”
More recently, Marcus Binney describes the house in his book In Search of The Perfect House, as an:
“…enchanting example of England’s most delightful home-grown style – country Baroque...”
Since the 1960s when the house was rescued from demolition, the house and grounds have been carefully developed and enhanced. The current focus is on the restoration of some of its original Georgian features and the redevelopment of its formal gardens.
Count and Countess Nicolas Reuttner are delighted to live at Swanton Hall, where they have the opportunity to continue to protect and enhance this beautiful and important building.
Swanton Hall is a dearly loved family home and it is not open to the public.