The Wonderful history of Wildernesse
31 March 2020
Wildernesse House and estate has borne witness to great moments and characters throughout English history. Located deep in the Kent countryside, this extraordinary house and its vast estate is undeniably steeped in historic legacy. We will be taking a look back at the colourful history of Wildernesse House and discover how it came to be a valued part of the PegasusLife profile, as well as a beautiful and unique home for our owners.
1300’s: The earliest records of the Wildernesse Estate date as far back as the 14th Century when the Stidulph family became the first known proprietors of what would eventually be the site of the famous Wildernesse House. At this time, the grounds consisted of the modest Stidulph house and their farm.
1680: Leaping forwards to 1680, an enclosed deer park was established on the grounds when Sir Charles Bickerstaffe bought Stidulph’s house and farmland, building in its place the first official Wildernesse mansion. Even today you might be lucky enough to encounter a deer or two on the grounds of the estate who will be distant relatives of the original herd introduced to the grounds by Bickerstaffe.
Early 1800’s: Over the passing centuries the house and grounds changed hands multiple times, landing in the ownership of several notable English Lords and Ladies. One particularly famous visitor to the estate was Lord Wellington who is reported to have visited the home just before the Battle of Waterloo. In honour of this occasion the great avenue of limes was planted in the gardens to commemorate the visit.
1884: Possibly one of the estates most philanthropic owners was Charles Henry Hillingdon who became the proprietor of Wildernesse House in 1884. Later named Baron Hillingdon, he poured his altruistic nature into the estate, building his own gasworks, a laundry and an orphanage all of which became a major source of livelihood and provided employment for people within the local communities of Seal and Sevenoaks.
Early 1900’s: The turn of the 20th Century bought with it yet another new era for Wildernesse House, which was re-invented as a prestigious Country Club. In 1927, the syndicate that was running the club was bought out by a man named George Fawcett, a local resident who had strong intentions for the estate to be run as a successful golf club. To his merit, Wildernesse House was named the best appointed 19th hole in the country!
1940: Naturally, being such a large estate, Wildernesse House was met with the call of duty come 1940. Throughout the Second World War, the mansion opened its doors to those in need and was used by the Guy’s Hospital, providing 120 beds for the injured and wounded. Following this, the golf club unfortunately began to struggle financially and was sold to the Royal London Society for the Blind. The estate was further developed into a college for the older pupils and a nursery. The building was home to the school for 60 years, bringing us to present day when in 2013 PegasusLife became the new owners of the house.
2013 – 2020: Detailed and carefully thought out plans were then drawn up to begin the renovations of the house to restore its former glory while incorporating modern and homely touches in order to welcome the new owners. The redevelopment took place between 2013 and 2017 and the house was then re-opened once again, allowing owners to call the grand estate a home. The mansion now has many new facilities including 19 spacious apartments, a bar, library, spa and gym. A far cry from its modest beginnings as a simple farmhouse. The owners of Wildernesse House now make their homes within a building steeped in tradition and history with all the comfort of the modern world, making it a truly unique place to live.
If you would like to start your next chapter in this truly unique place to live then please call to find out more information: 01732 608148 / [email protected]