Friday, 2 June 2017

I have been to ... Temple Manor, Rochester, Kent

During our recent visit to Rochester, Kent, Sue and I stopped off at Temple Manor. This is a thirteenth century stone hall (with later additions), and is all that remains of the manor house of an estate that belonged to the Knights Templar. It is situated in the middle of a modern industrial estate that was built on the farmland that previously surrounded the site, and is owned and maintained by English Heritage.

When the Templars were suppressed, the manor was passed onto Edward II, who then gave it to the Countess of Pembroke. The income from the estate was then used to endow an order of Franciscan nuns. When the monasteries were suppressed during the reign of Henry VIII, the property was granted to Edward Elrington. Ownership of the estate subsequently passed through the hands of numerous landowners, and it was eventually divided up into separate small farms and smallholdings.

The rump of the estate (which included the manor house) was bought by the City of Rochester in the 1930s and the land was used to build the industrial estate. By this time the building was derelict, but rather than demolish it, it was restored by the Ministry of Works after the Second World War, and eventually passed into the care of English Heritage.

As can be seen from the photographs of the building's exterior, the original part of the manor house was mainly constructed using local stone, with the later additions being constructed from brick.






We first visited the upper part of the old manor house using the modern exterior wooden staircase. The arched entrance was made from marble.


The centre of the room is dominated by a huge brick fireplace ...


... and the roof shows the restored wooden timbering.


There is evidence of the original windows at one end of the room ...


... some of which must have been quite large judging by the arches that would have surrounded them.


Sue and I then visited the main brick-built extension to the original building. On the ground floor, in a room dominated by yet another large brick fireplace ...



... were a number of panels that told the history of Temple Manor.




The room above was empty, save for a smaller brick fireplace ...


... and the room above that was equally empty.


However, in one wall there was the top of a small stone arch ...


... the other side of which we had seen in the first room we had visited in the original building!

We then made our way down into the undercroft under the main hall.


This had a vaulted ceiling ....



... that was supported on some quite impressive columns.



Considering that this undercroft was used for the storage of food and animals, it was constructed from very substantial stonework and reflects the wealth of the original owners, the Knights Templar.

Temple Manor can be visited between 11.00am and 4.00pm on Saturdays and Sundays between 1st April and 29th October. Entrance to Temple Manor is free, and visiting it was a very pleasant way to spend an hour. Finding it can be tricky, even using a sat nav, but it does have a small car park and the guide we met was charming and very helpful.

2 comments:

  1. I can vouch for it being difficult to find as we've yet to get there despite living here. We did have a good view of it though, from the train en-route from Strood to Tonbridge the other day.

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    Replies
    1. Nigel Drury,

      We found it by putting the postcode into the sat nav ... and even then we almost drove past the entrance!

      All the best,

      Bob

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