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Photographer: Paul Waite

Great Maytham

Gazetteer No. G0206

Date 1907-09

Address Cranbrook, Kent TN17 4NE England


Great Maytham is Lutyens’s version of the traditional Whig Seat. A huge house, 168 feet long, that incorporates in its centre block a house built in 1721. It is a careful and somewhat uninspired example of the ‘Wrennaissance’, beautifully detailed and built of blue grey bricks with red dressings and stone door cases. Inside its formal plan adds to the feeling of being inside a very large bank or institution. The exercise is saved by the wit and elegance of the arched entry building topped by a clock tower. Edwardian substantiality is writ a little too large at Great Maytham. There are good iron gates to the walled garden, traditionally the setting of The Secret Garden by Miss Hodson-Burnett. (Amery et al., 1981, cat no.170)

The terrace was rebuilt in 1977-1978 by the Mutual Households Association Ltd. for a contract sum of £35,000. (Amery et al., 1981, cat no.150)

Great Maytham, ½ m. sse. 1909–10 by Sir Edwin Lutyens for H. J. Tennant, brother of Margot Asquith. Neo-Georgian. Formal, handsome and extremely large. The centre block incorporates the Monypenny house, begun in 1721. Lutyens encased it, added a third storey and a high hipped roof with dormers, and extended it to l. and r. with three-bay wings and two-bay pavilions, making a house 168 ft (51.5 metres) long. For vertical emphasis, bare walls and strong chimneystacks suffice. Blue-grey brick with sparing red dressings. Disappointing interior, constrained by the c18 plan. (Pevsner, 2012, p.508)


Amery, C., Richardson, M. and Stamp, G. (1981) Lutyens, the Work of the English Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944): Hayward Gallery London, 18 November 1981-31 January 1982. London: Arts Council of Great Britain.

Pevsner N (2012) Kent: West and the Weald. The Buildings of England. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Also Cited In

Inskip, P. (1986) Edwin Lutyens: Architectural Monographs 6. 2nd edn. London: Academy Editions.

Weaver, L. (1913) Houses and Gardens by E L Lutyens. London: Country Life.

Aslet, C. (1982) The Last Country Houses. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Butler, A., 1950. The architecture of Sir Edwin Lutyens: the Lutyens memorial series. Vol 1: Country Houses, Country Life: London and Scibners: New York.

WEAVER, L., 1912. COUNTRY HOMES GARDENS OLD & NEW: GREAT MAYTHAM, KENT, THE SEAT OF MR. H. J. TENNANT, M. P. Country Life (Archive : 1901 – 2005), 32(830), pp. 746-753.

Listing Grade

II*, II*, II

Listing Reference

1115477 1070886 1000221


Rt Hon H J Tennant