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Sissinghurst Castle

In the 14th century, the area where Sissinghurst Castle is found was known as Saxingherste, and a family who took the name of De Saxingherste owned the manor. 

The property passed into the de Berham family by marriage and it was later sold to the Baker family.

The Bakers set about making a residence of note.  The old house was pulled down and leaving only the moat, a fine Elizabethan mansion with central red brick prospect tower was built. 

Sir Richard Baker, who was a trusted Tudor subject and held numerous important posts, including: Attorney General; Chancellor of the Exchequer and Privy Counsellor, required a suitable residence in which to entertain.  Both Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth I enjoyed Baker’s hospitality.

In 1642, during Civil War, the family supported the royalist cause and shortly after the last male died and the family line ended.  The property was divided between the female heirs and the house went into decline.

It came into the possession of Sir Horace Mann, who did not live in the house and further damage was done to the property when it was leased to become a prisoner of war camp during the Seven Years War with France. 

The French POWs first used the description of castle, which has been used ever since. The war ended in 1763 and the mansion had seen 3000 prisoners, it was a wreck.  The property was still not inhabited and parts were pulled down from time to time for the building materials.

In the 19th century, what was left of the property became Cranbrook’s parish workhouse for 60 years, following which, it became a farm and the ruins of the mansion became housing for the farm labourers.

Sir Harold Nicholson purchased Sissinghurst in 1930, and he rescued what remained of the castle and along with his wife, Vita Sackville-West, created the splendid gardens. Finally, in 1968, the property passed into the hands of the National Trust.

Sissinghurst Castle Visitor Info

The Gardens of the Sissinghurst Castle are one of the most famous gardens in Kent and in England. The castle ruins and its garden are open for visits.

Visit the official website for updated info about opening times and tickets or use this contact details to get in touch with the staff:
Telephone: 01580 710701 (Infoline)

Sissinghurst Castle Map&Location

Sissinghurst Castle is located near Cranbrook, Biddenden Road, Kent TN17 2AB. Get help with directions using this map:

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Sissinghurst Castle Photos

Photos by James Stringer - Click on the photos to enlarge
Sissinghurst Castle
Sissinghurst Castle
Sissinghurst Castle
Sissinghurst Castle
Sissinghurst Castle garden 
Sissinghurst Castle garden
Sissinghurst Castle garden