© Mr Ron Garvey
COBHAM HALL (INCLUDING KITCHEN AND STABLE COURT),
COBHAM, GRAVESHAM, KENT
Mr Ron Garvey
01 June 2006
27 August 1952
Date of last amendment:
27 August 1952
The Images of England website consists of images of listed buildings based on the statutory list as it was in 2001 and does not incorporate subsequent amendments to the list. For the statutory list and information on the current listed status of individual buildings please go to The National Heritage List for England.
TQ 66 NE COBHAM
27.8.52 Cobham Hall
and stable court)
1584 onwards. One of the largest and most important houses in Kent. The seat of the
De Cobham family since 1208, their house stood where the present centre block stands
until 1662. The 2 brick wings forming the west court were built by William Brooke,
Lord Cobham, the south wing between 1584 and 1587 and the north begun in 1591. The
centre block was built by Charles Stuart sixth and last Duke of Lennox between 1662
and 1672 to the design of Peter Mills. In the early 18th century the house passed to
John Bligh, later first Earl of Darnley. Between 1768 and 1770 Sir William Chambers
altered the west front for the third Earl adding a storey. Between 1771 and 1773 a
2-storey corridor was added along the north side of the centre block and the east or
kitchen court was begun in style to match the 2 wings, also certain rooms were
redecorated in the classic style. The 4th Earl who inherited in 1771 employed
James Wyatt who designed the bridge connecting the north front to the terrace forming
an entrance under a porte-cochere. He also executed some gothic work inside and added
decorative detail to the hall. Between 1817 and 1818 George and John Repton made some
alterations in Tudor style and put in some bogus dates. The last alterations were to
the Dining Room about 1840 apart from recent work for present occupation by a school.
The plan is an H. The centre block originally 2 and partly 3 storeys was extended
from the centre 3 bays across the whole in 1768-70. Of red brick with stone cornice,
brick parapet with stone finials and hipped slate roof. Nine sash windows with
glazing bars in stone surrounds. Giant Corinthian pilasters of stone to 3 centre
bays. Central door with engaged columns and curved broken pediment. Triple brick
chimney stacks on end walls. Cast lead rainwater downpipes dated 1587 and 1662.
North front of west wing has 7 windows and 6 chimney stacks with twin shafts. Wide
central projection with bay window of 7 and 2 lights on ground and 7 and 13 lights on
first floor. Gable over with date 1812, similar small bay windows either side.
Gabled porch at west end, at east end the tower breaks out into the bridge cum porte
cochere added by Wyatt in 1802-4. The archway is in Roman Cement with stone
buttresses and 2 windows each side. The interior forms a cloister with plastered
To the east the kitchen court added in 1771-3 is in brick but with areas of C16
brickwork. Its north front has 10 windows and 5 chimney stacks with twin shafts.
Four centred arched doorway of Bath stone with Latin inscription and date 1831. At
north-east corner a projection in Tudor brick with 4 centred arched doorway.
The inner facade has 6 windows and a central one storey porch. The south side has
10 windows and 3 four centred arched stone doorways and a central projection. The
east side has 8 windows and a wing with brick archway comprising stables and coach
house was added by Wyatt in 1789-90. Inside is a projecting central clock tower of
3 storeys with clock face and bell, probably by Repton and dated 1818.
The main front is to the south with 2 storeys, basement and attic. Fifteen windows
and 7 dormers behind a brick parapet. Casement windows on first floor, 6 and 9 lights
framed in stone. Sash and some French windows on ground floor inserted by 3rd Earl.
Central porch of 2 storeys up 7 steps to round-headed stone doorway with pediment and
date 1584. Three windows on each side with twin octagonal chimneys set on parapet.
Then similar projections without doorways, 3 more windows and similar pair of twin
chimneys. Terrace with brick parapet between projections containing tiny round
windows lighting basement. At each end projecting octagonal towers of 4 storeys off a
square base. Stone bands above third floor form lozenge pattern. Roofed with ogee
lead covered cupolas with weathervane. The south side of the kitchen court extending
to the east is of 2 storeys with stone string courses brick parapet and slate roof.
Eight windows, casements of 6 lights on ground floor. Stone mullions. Central
projection with gable contains C16 round-headed doorway and stone cartouche with date
1789. Two chimneys with octagonal stacks.
The inner face opposite the main south facade has 9 windows all 4 light casements in
2 tiers on ground floor and 3 above enclosed in stone. To west 2 chimney stacks with
paired octagonal shafts. Stone oriel in 4th bay from east. Eighteen lights with
pierced stone cresting over. Gabled dormer above flanked by scrolls. Stone pediment
with finials and cresting. Round-headed doorway with stone Roman doric columns on
pedestals. Triglyph frieze. Possibly designed by Giles de Witt. At west end a
shallow bay of 14 lights on each floor and gable with finials. Inner face of north
wing similar including bay at west end but with elaborate projecting porch dated 1594,
possibly designed by Giles de Witt, round-headed arch flanked by twin Doric columns.
Above on first floor 2 round-headed lights flanked by pairs of Ionic columns foliated
to 1/3 height fluted above, in broken pediment the Darnley coat of arms flanked by
Internally no work of C16 except elaborate alabaster marble and torch chimney pieces
of Giles de Witt. The gilt Hall is of 1672 with marble wall decorations added by
James Wyatt and thought by George IV to be the finest room in England, marble chimney
piece by R Westmacott senior. Snetzler organ of 1779. Vestibule in centre of south
front by Sir William Chambers or Geoffrey Shakespeare. The hall square with apsidal
end divided by a screen of the Corinthian order. The octagonal room on the first
floor has Chinese wall-paper of 1770.