Eastwell ParkEdit profile
Eastwell Park was an English stately home in the civil parish of Eastwell, adjoining Ashford in Kent, that for a time served as a royal residence. The house was demolished in the 1920s and replaced with a large house called Eastwell Manor, which is now a country house hotel. The original house was built for Sir Thomas Moyle between 1540 and 1550 by Richard Plantagenet (Richard of Eastwell), who claimed to be a son of Richard III of England. The present house was built between 1793-1799 for George Finch Hatton, 9th Earl of Winchilsea. A Victorian Tudor-style wing was later added; the house had seven bays and wings of three bays each. In the mid-1860s one of Finch Hatton's successors, George James Finch-Hatton, 11th Earl of Winchilsea was experiencing financial difficulties of a very serious kind. On 4 December 1868 trustees appointed under the Winchilsea Estate Act (1865) entered into a contract to let Eastwell Park, together with its furnishings and effects, to the Duke of Abercorn for a period of five years. Lord Winchilsea had been obliged to vacate the property some time prior to December 1868, and he was formally adjudged bankrupt on 5 October 1870. Eastwell Park was next rented by the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh from 1874 to 1893. The Duke was the second son of Queen Victoria; the Duchess was originally a Grand Duchess of Russia. Their daughter Princess Marie (who later became queen of Romania) was born at the house in 1875. In her memoirs, Queen Marie writes of "beautiful Eastwell with its great gray house, its magnificent park, with its herds of deer and picturesque Highland cattle, its lake, its woods, its garden with the old cedar tree which was our fairy mansion." The family left the house upon the Duke's inheritance of the dukedom of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1893. Eastwell Park was demolished in 1926. A large new house in the neo-Elizabethan style called Eastwell Manor was built on the site, and is now a country house hotel. The original main gatehouse, now known as Eastwell Towers, which was built in 1848, stands a mile south-south west of the manor. Other survivals include a ruined church dating to the 14th century. A nine hole golf course has been laid out in the grounds.
- Richard Plantagenet (Richard of Eastwell)
- Marie of Edinburgh later Queen of Romania
- Princess Beatrice of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
- Sir Thomas Moyle
- Earl of Winchilsea and Nottingham