Godinton House

Godinton House is situated in Godinton Lane, off the A20, about 1.5 miles west off Ashford and junction 9 of the M20.

Godinton House was originally a mediaeval hall house, with a fire in the centre of the hall and smoke issuing from a hole in the thatched roof – smoke-blackened timbers are still present above the current great hall.

The House was owned by the Toke family for 500 years, until they sold it in 1896. A well known figure in the family was Capt Nicholas Toke, a very wealthy 17th century merchant and member of the militia. Married 5 times, he died aged 93, but with no male heirs, and is buried in Great Chart Church. His effigy depicts him wearing a suit of armour.

Capt Toke enlarged the House, adding the east wing, the compass gables (sometimes mistakenly called Dutch gables), reorganising the roof line and putting in the elaborately carved staircase (said to be the finest in Kent, surpassing that at Knole House).

The House sits in an estate of about 1000 acres, and boasts the largest yew hedge in England - the trimmings are taken to be used by the pharmaceutical industry in the manufacture of anti-cancer drugs.

The garden is also famous for its delphinium borders.

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