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The first known holder of the manor of Olantigh was Ralph Kempe (c.1283–1313). He is also the earliest known ancestor of the Wye Kempes. The theory that the Kempes were descendants of John Kempe, a Flemish weaver who settled in England under royal protection in 1313 is probably not true, because they were settled at Wye before that time. There are many generations of Kempes down to the present. Many emigrated to the United States and some were associated to the Digges family of England and the United States. The most famous descendants were John Kemp (1380–1454), Archbishop of Canterbury, and Thomas Kempe, Bishop of London, nephew of John Kemp (died 1489).
When Sir Thomas Kempe died c.1607 without male issue, Olantigh was sold to Sir Timothy Thornhill. In 1711, Richard Thornhill, his grandson, became hopelessly involved in drinking and gambling, and Olantigh was purchased in 1720 by Jacob Sawbridge, one of the directors of the South Sea Company, in the year of “The South Sea Bubble”. In 1773, John Sawbridge, the then ruling squire, became Lord Mayor of London; he extended the mansion. The estate passed down through the Sawbridge family to John Samuel Wanley Sawbridge, on his father's death in 1851. The Member of Parliament for Wareham 1841–57, 1859–65, 1868–80, on 1 May 1827, married Jane Frances Sawbridge Erle-Drax Grosvenor, of Charborough Park, Dorset, and Ellerton Abbey, Yorkshire, at St George's Church, Hanover Square, London. In December 1903, Olantigh was occupied by Wanley Elias Sawbridge-Erle-Drax, vicar of Almer, Dorset, when fire gutted the Georgian mansion.
In 1910, Wanley commissioned architects A. Barnett Brown & Ernest Barrow to design a new house incorporating the original stone portico. Repositioned with the portico 70 feet (21 m) from its original position, the new smaller scale red-brick mansion was finished in 1911.
In 1912, the house was let to Mr J. H. Loudon, who redeveloped the gardens, before it was sold to his son, Mr F. W. H. Loudon, in 1935. After World War II, the house proved too large, and the west wing which provided two-thirds of the accommodation was demolished in the mid-1950s, leaving a house today only a fifth as large as the house it replaced after the 1903 fire.
The garden terraces and stable block were Grade II listed in 1989. Still owned today by the Loudon family, the garden beside the Great Stour river, is open to the public and has a wide variety of trees, providing woodland walks; the gardens themselves have a rockery, a shrubbery, herbaceous border and extensive lawns.
- "Olantigh House". Flickr. Retrieved June 5, 2011.
- Richardson III 2011, pp. 276-7.
- Beckett, Matthew. "Olantigh Towers". Lost Heritage. Retrieved June 5, 2011.
- "Olantigh; Garden Terraces and Stable Block, Wye With Hinxhill". British Listed Buildings. UK. Retrieved June 5, 2011.
- http://www.folkestonegerald.com/olantigh+open+garden[dead link]
- Richardson, Douglas (2011). Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families, ed. Kimball G. Everingham III (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. pp. 276–7. ISBN 144996639X
- A General History of the Kemp and Kempe Families of Great Britain, Frederick Hitchin-Kemp, London, Leadenhall Press, 1902
- The Complete Peerage, George E. Cokayne, Sutton Publishing, Gloucester, 2000