Godmersham Park - History and Facts | History Hit

Godmersham Park

Teet Ottin

25 Jan 2023
Image Credit: Flyby Photography / Shutterstock.com

About Godmersham Park

Former home of Jane Austen‘s brother Edward Austen Knight, Godmersham Park is not only a beautiful Palladian-style mansion, but a place that has inspired great literature. Since 2017, the house has also featured on the British £10 note.

History of Godmersham Park

Built in 1732, on the site of an earlier Elizabethan building, Godmersham Park was the property of the Knight family. The two side pavilions were added around 1780. Jane Austen’s brother was adopted by the son of Thomas Brodanx Knight, who was a distant cousin of the siblings. Edward Austen eventually changed his last name to Knight and married Elizabeth Bridges. Jane Austen regularly visited her brother and it is believed that Godmersham Park served as inspiration for Mansfield Park.

Edward’s son put the house up for sale in the late 19th century, ushering in a period of a series of new owners until Godmersham Park was bought up by Elsie and Robert Tritton in the 20th century. They helped to restore the building to its former glory, removing many of the Victorian additions and adding an orangery to the west wing.

Godmersham Park today

Godmersham Park was sold to the Sunley family in 1983 who lease it to the Association of British Dispensing Opticians. The beautiful country house is open to public during the National Gardens Open Days. During the rest of the year you can visit through pre-booked tours.

The formal gardens are a lovely sight and offer an atmospheric getaway experience. The grounds can be accessed at any time, since a public footpath runs through them, offering great views over the main house.

Getting to Godmersham Park

The country house is located between Ashford and Cantebury in the North Downs. From London, you can take the Southeastern train to Wye and catch a bus from there to Church Lane. It is only a 4 minute walk from the station to the manor house.