Country houses were the showpieces of the nation's elite and Kent can still boast some of the finest examples, with Leeds Castle, Chevening, Cobham Hall, Knole, Penshurst Place, Mereworth and Broome Park to name but a few. Sadly, the county has also witnessed the demolition of several of its grander houses due to changes in social habits and the decline and amalgamation of great estates, not to mention fire, dry rot and death duties. Estates of modern houses now cover the site of the many lost houses, while the remains of foundations, surviving entrance lodges and other outbuildings, and a few garden features can be found if looked for. It is evocative to think that what was once such an imposing building, the centre and social hub of the area, is now just a few scanty remains in a field.
This is the first book to feature the lost country houses of the `Garden of England' and Martin Easdown provides us with 120 examples of the grandest mansions that have disappeared, listed in gazetteer form with illustrations. He also provides us with a few examples, such as Oxney Court, where the house has come back to life after years of dereliction.
Martin Easdown is a long-time member of the National Piers Society and one of the acknowledged experts on British piers. He has written extensively on the history of piers in books, magazines and newspapers. He lives in Kent.