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Eastwell Park, Boughton Leeds, Kent: unexecuted alternative schemes for rebuilding the house for George Finch Hatton, 1774 (14)

1774
George Finch Hatton (1747-1823) was the son of the diplomat Edward Finch (later Finch Hatton) (c1697-1771), himself the 5th son of the 2nd Earl of Nottingham. Finch Hatton succeeded his father to the Eastwell estate in 1771, and served as MP for Rochester in 1772-84. In 1785 he married the Hon. Elizabeth Murray, daughter of the 2nd Earl of Mansfield. Their eldest son, George William Finch Hatton, succeeded his cousin in 1826 as 10th Earl of Winchilsea and 5th Earl of Nottingham.

The original house at Eastwell Park had been built by Sir Thomas Moyle in the 1540s. To this, alterations were made in c1685 by the 3rd(?) Earl of Winchilsea to designs by William Winde (d1722). By the 1770s, Finch Hatton must have felt that the house was in need of replacement or modernisation, as in 1774 he commissioned Robert Adam to make various designs for rebuilding. These comprise a variety of castle style and neo-classical designs, but each was rejected.

Eastwell was finally rebuilt by George Finch Hatton in 1793-1800 to designs by Adam’s former draughtsman, Joseph Bonomi (1739-1808). Bonomi’s designs for the house are included in George Richardson’s first volume of New Vitruvius Britannicus (1802-8). To this, neo-Jacobean additions were made for the 10th Earl of Winchilsea in 1849 to designs by William Burn (1789-1870). The 11th Earl left Eastwell in 1768 and was declared bankrupt in 1780. The house was leased first by the Duke of Abercorn, and then Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, the second son of Queen Victoria. The house was demolished following a fire in 1926, and replaced in 1926-28 with a neo-Elizabethan house known as Eastwell Manor, to designs by Major B.C. Deacon (ND). This now serves as a country house hotel.

Literature:
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 10, 71; J. Newman, The buildings of England: north east and east Kent, 1983, p. 309; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume II, pp. 124, 145-149, 162; ‘Finch Hatton, George (1747-1823), of Eastwell Park, nr. Ashford, Kent’, History of Parliament online

Frances Sands, 2014
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