Skip to content

Chartwell: home of Sir Winston Churchill – another ‘jolly.’

November 10, 2016
Churchilll's Golden Wedding (c) Jane Risdon 2016

Buying Chartwell for  Churchill (c) Jane Risdon 2016

Chartwell from the rear (c)Jane Risdon 2016

Chartwell from the rear (c)Jane Risdon 2016

Churchill's home (c) Jane Risdon 2016

                 (c) Jane Risdon 2016

Late September I was fortunate enough to visit Chartwell, home of Sir Winston Churchill.

‘Some day, some year, there will be old men and women whose pride it will be to say “I lived in Churchill’s time”.’ The Evening Standard on the day of Churchill’s funeral.

A friend’s father – in the Navy at the time – was one of the men to carry Churchill’s coffin to the train for his final journey to Bladen, Oxfordshire, where he is buried.

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

Churchill lived at Chartwell with his family from 1922 until his death in 1965. In common with most people he moved home several times during his life-time, progressing gradually to a larger and grander property as circumstances and his finances allowed.

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

 Those with an interest in Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill will know he was born at Blenheim Palace on November 30th 1874. His father, Lord Randolph Churchill, was the second surviving son of the 7th Duke of Marlborough. His mother, Jennie Jerome, was the daughter of a New York financier.

‘I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.’ Churchill

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

Although born into the

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

English aristocracy he did not inherit vast riches and for most of his life he was only moderately wealthy. He made his living as a writer. Politics did not bring him great wealth either.

He received almost every honour his country and many others could bestow upon him. Knight of the Garter, Companion of Honour, Order of Merit, Nobel Prize, Fellow of the Royal Society, Honorary Citizen of The United States – voted for by the public, Man of the Century, and The Greatest Briton – the list is almost endless.

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

He neither sought nor received a Peerage which would have taken him to The House of Lords as that would have taken him from his beloved The House of Commons.

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

‘I could not live without champagne. In victory I deserve it. In defeat I need it.’ Churchill

Winston took part in many battles during his younger years, either as a war correspondent or as a soldier – in Cuba, on the North West Frontier of India (at the same time one of my relatives was also fighting in the same places), and in the Sudan, South Africa, and France.

‘Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.’ Churchill

 Clementine, Lady Churchill, entered The House of Lords after she’d been created Baroness Spencer-Churchill in 1965 in recognition of her work for charity. She also 

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

received many accolades and awards including The Order of the Red Banner of Labour, awarded by Stalin in recognition of her wartime work raising funds for aid to Russia.

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

Winston went to school at Harrow and from there entered the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst (a place well-known to my family because so many of them have also Passed Out as Officer Cadets, or have been Instructors there).

Sir Winston subsequently joined the cavalry.

(c) Jane Risdon 2011

(c) Jane Risdon 2011

‘History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it.’ Churchill

RMA (c) Jane Risdon 2016

RMA (c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2011

(c) Jane Risdon 2011

During his time at Sandhurst it is well-known that his family kept him short of funds and he often wrote heart-breaking letters home begging for money to pay his way.

My Mother, a member of the local Historical Society, when researching information about Sandhurst for a book the Society was writing about the village, was given access to records (in the College archives) which included a viewing of Sir Winston’s letters home and the replies he received.  She told me they were really quite upsetting to read.

Anyway, with all this information I was looking forward to seeing his home and the glorious grounds surrounding it. Unfortunately the day of my visit was a wet one.

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

It rained all the time. There was also scaffolding erected to the rear of the house which made getting a decent photo of it a tricky, and I was a little disappointed to learn that taking photos inside the house was prohibited.

The photos I took are of the grounds, his studio – where he liked to paint – and some other buildings in the grounds. I do hope you like them.

A collection of Sir Winston’s paintings are on show in his studio.  I have to say a child could paint just as well, but I know appreciation of art is a personal matter. I know many love his art.

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

There is an appeal for his possessions to be kept at Chartwell. Funds are being raised to enable his paintings and other items in the collection, at Chartwell, to be saved by purchasing them from the Churchill family who loan them to the National Trust at the moment. 

Text WINSTON to 70123  (in UK) to give £5 donation or donate at nationaltrust.org.uk/chartwell-appal

‘Just to paint is great fun. The colours are lovely to look at and delicious to squeeze out. Matching them, however crudely, with what you see is fascinating and absolutely absorbing. Try it if you have not done so – before you die.’ Churchill, Painting as a Pastime.

Because of the heavy rain (at times) a thorough investigation of the more than 816 acres, which included several individual farms at one time, was not practical. It was a mud bath on the walks and in the woodland.

Chartwell is older than it looks and although the external appearance of the house has the unmistakable 1920s look, the actual site, according to records, dates back to 1362 and there has been a house on the site since at least the early 15th century. Roof timbers surviving from the earlier house were ring-dated to between 1515 and 1546, and can still be seen in Winston’s study.

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

The house changed hands many times since the Middle Ages, and before Winston and his wife lived there.  It had been a foundling house in the 18th century, a home for deserted children and for a long time was known as Well Street. It wasn’t known as Chartwell until the middle of the 19th century, taking its name from the Chart Well, a spring feeding the uppermost of a series of ponds north of the house.

The word Chart is Old English for a ‘rough common overgrown with gorse, broom and bracken,’ and occurs in place names throughout  The Weald of Kent.

Churchill engaged architect Philip Tilden, who’d completed a new house for Lloyd George, to modernise and extend Chartwell when he and Clementine purchased it. It took longer than expected and they couldn’t move in until 1924.

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

‘A day away from Chartwell is a day wasted.’ Churchill

Over the years they made some small changes but today it is presented to the public by the National Trust, as it looked in the 1920/1930s.

‘Garnished and furnished as to be of interest to the public.’Churchill

The tour of the house takes in his library where he contemplated the D-Day Landings. it is a comfortable room, and like the rest of the house, is very much a family home.

‘Nothing makes a man more reverent than a good library.’ Churchill

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

The Churchills entertained many famous and influential guests at Chartwell including Charlie Chaplin, Harry Truman, Harold Macmillan, Bernard Montgomery, Friedrich Prince of Prussia, The Queen Mother, Laurence Olivier, Lady Diana Cooper and Ethel Barrymore, Lawrence of Arabia, The Mitfords, Astors, Guinesses, Randolph Hearst and many more.

Chartwell was given to the National Trust in 1946 on the understanding that Sir Winston and Lady Churchill could live out their lives there. It has been open to the public for 50 years (2016).

There are medals, awards and so much more to see inside the house. Wonderful Art Deco furnishings and many paintings by famous artists. I’d be here until Christmas describing it all and so I suggest you visit yourself and take the tour.

In addition to the house, there are gardens, grounds, and lakes to explore with beautiful views across the Weald of Kent in a relatively unspoiled part of England. It is nestled between the chalk hills of the North and South Downs in one of the most densely wooded areas of the country.

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

(c) Jane Risdon 2016

Upon seeing Chartwell for the first time Clementine wrote she could ‘think of nothing but that heavenly tree-crowned hill.’

Sadly in the storms of 1987 23 trees were blown over and many acres of woodland were laid waste. But there is still much to see, far too much to take in on one visit.

I’ll just post the photos I have taken for you to see, and leave them to tell their own story.

Chartwell is beautiful.

Lady Churchill left Chartwell in 1965.

If you’d like to visit or know more about Chartwell here is the information:

Chartwell: Mapleton Road, Westerham, Kent TN16 1PS

facebook.com/chartwellnt

@ChartwellNT

+44(0) 1732 868381

chartwell@nationaltrust.org.uk

Entry to the house is by timed tickets which are available from the visitor centre from 10am.

There are toilets, but not in the house or studio, for the public – also baby changing facilities. Breast feeding is welcome (I saw the signs so I thought I’d let you know, in case)…

There are picnic tables in the meadow or you can sit on the lawns, a gift shop and garden shop, a kitchen garden, a cafe and dogs on short leads are welcome but not in the kitchen garden.

There is a Canadian camp where the kids can play and they can build their own dens in the woodland area. 

Fabulous walks (even when raining, just be suitably attired) with lots to see and enjoy. One walk is a 5 mile circular walk and of course there’s lots for budding gardeners to enjoy.

I hope you enjoy my short ‘jolly.’ As ever do let me know.

I’ve been rather busy of late undertaking an Archaeology course (now completed) and another Forensic Science course (my 4th) – still underway, to keep me out of mischief. Not to mention various short stories for inclusion in anthologies and my co-written novel with Christina Jones has gone off to our publisher…

I’ll share some more ‘jollies’ soon. During the last month I’ve had trips to the Lake District and other lovely places, so I’ll be posting about these as soon as time permits.

As always all photos are (c) Jane Risdon 2016 All Rights Reserved.

 

Advertisements

From → Blog

29 Comments
  1. Congrats on your novel being off to the publisher. Thank you for this interesting blog & the marvelous photos! Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah thanks so much. Yes my publisher has been waiting for Christina Jones and I to deliver Only One Woman and this was done last month and should be published Spring 2017 we hope. We’ve both had lots of other books published and in progress and so it has been a busy time. I am glad you enjoy my blog and possibly my various ‘jollies,’ and photos. Apart from my writing I enjoy sharing information and photos of where I have been and judging by the reaction I get when I do this, I think people find it entertaining and enjoyable. For this I am really pleased. Thanks so much for being here and I do hope you will drop in again. Fab chatting with you 🙂

      Like

  2. Jane, thank you very much for sharing the tour with me. Winston Churchill was an incredible man and I love his use of language.
    BTW, a story you might not have heard. During WWII Churchill asked the Australian Governement to send him a live platypus. It was despatched by boat but unfortunately, depth charges went off and the shock killed him. “Winston” was stuffed and apparently sat on Winston Churchill’s desk.
    xx Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL now that is a story I have not heard before, I laughed, but really it was sad. How interesting. I am glad you enjoyed my jolly, I write them up from time to time. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I did enjoy it, Jane. It’s always great to experience virtual travel and hear those inside stories as well.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Happy to oblige. I shall be posting a few more ‘jollies,’ in a few weeks when I get time to write them up and find the photos. Hope you will drop in again then. 🙂

          Like

  3. Tina Jaray permalink

    As usual, wonderful photos, and also – in fact, in particular – I loved all the quotations from Churchill. He had a wonderful turn of phrase and there were several which I didn’t know. Thank you so very much.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. jfredlee permalink

    I always enjoy rading your ‘jollies”, Jane. Please keep them coming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lots more to come when I get time to write them up Jeff, glad you enjoy them. 🙂 Watch this space…Have a fab day. xx

      Like

  5. A fascinating piece, Jane. As you know I am interested in all things WW2. I have never been to Chartwell, so your blog post (as always) was of particular interest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad it was interesting. It’s a shame I couldn’t photograph inside, so much to see and read and absorb. Fascinating and still looks like a family home. Even though it rained, there were so many people, cars and coaches – end of September! I have no idea when it is quieter and more suited to those doing research. I hope you get to go one day. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Brilliant!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Glad you enjoyed it Caron. I just wish the fine rain had stopped as it caused the photos to be a little unclear. Also not being allowed to photograph inside was a disappointment as there was to much to see and absorb. Thanks so much 🙂

      Like

  7. Sir Winston has always been one of my heroes. Thank you so much for posting this. I hope I get to see Chartwell in person one day! You always have the best jollies!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I m lucky I know. Such fab jollies. I do hope you can go some time,Well worth it. Just sorry we were not allowed to take photos inside the house I think you would have loved it. So much to see and absorb. Good luck in getting there. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. jfredlee permalink

    A beautiful place and a fascinating piece, Jane. I really enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Glad you enjoyed it Jeff. I wish it had not been a fine rain falling all day otherwise the photos may well have been sharper. Shame we could not photograph inside the house, you’d have loved it I am sure 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Heartafire permalink

    Positively beautiful and fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Reblogged this on newauthoronline and commented:
    They don’t make them like that anymore. Chartwell is a place I have long wished to visit. Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for sharing such a fabulous trip, Jane! Churchill was so influential, and such a ‘Renaissance person,’ wasn’t he? I’ve always admired him. Lovely to know one can visit Chartwell. Fascinating, too, to know about his art that’s there. I’d love to see some of his work ‘live.’

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is an amazing place, a real home, and yes his paintings are there. I cannot say I am a fan of his art but it helped him relax and in his position, that was so important. It is a shame I couldn’t take and share photos inside. The gifts from all over the world were exquisite and quite breath-taking. The Paintings and other items given to or belong to the family are so very valuable too. I think you would have loved the room which to me looked like a garden room, but was a main dining room done out in green and white and so very art deco yet timeless. Very much a family home. In his study he always left the door open for is grandchildren to come in, and a mirror over his desk gave him a chance to see who was approaching so he could close the door if need be.

      Like

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Chartwell: home of Sir Winston Churchill – another ‘jolly.’ |

Please leave a reply and comment - your input is really appreciated. Thanks, Jane

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: