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Olantigh after the 1903 fire

Olantigh is a house 1 mile (1.6 km) north of Wye in Kent, southeast England.[1] It includes a garden of 20 acres (8.1 ha). The hamlet in which the property stands is Little Olantigh. The population of the property and surrounding area is included in the civil parish of Wye with Hinxhill.


The property is owned by the Loudon family (who purchased it in 1935). The garden terraces and stable block acquired Grade II listed status in 1989.[2] The garden, beside the Great Stour river,[3] 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.


The first known holder of the manor of Olantigh was Sir Norman Kempe (c.1235–1295). 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,[4] Olantigh was sold to Sir Timothy Thornhill. In 1679 John Locke spent some time at Olantigh acting as doctor for Caleb Banks, then a guest there of Henry Thornhill. In 1711, Richard Thornhill, the grandson of Timothy Thornhill became hopelessly involved in drinking and gambling, and obtained Parliamentary permission to pass the estate to trustees, to be sold for payment of his debts. [5]

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.[6]

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 John Hope Loudon, who redeveloped the gardens, before it was sold to his son, Mr Francis William Hope 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.


  1. ^ "Olantigh House". Flickr. Retrieved June 5, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Olantigh; Garden Terraces and Stable Block, Wye With Hinxhill". British Listed Buildings. UK. Retrieved June 5, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ http://www.folkestonegerald.com/olantigh+open+garden[dead link]
  4. ^ Richardson III 2011, pp. 276-7.
  5. ^ "Parishes: Wye Pages 340-368 The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 7. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1798". British History Online.
  6. ^ Beckett, Matthew. "Olantigh Towers". Lost Heritage]. Archived from the original on May 4, 2011. Retrieved June 5, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)


  • Cokayne, George E. (2000). The Complete Peerage. Gloucester: Sutton Publishing.
  • Hitchin-Kemp, Frederick (1902). A General History of the Kemp and Kempe Families of Great Britain. London: Leadenhall Press.
  • Richardson, Douglas (2011). Everingham, Kimball G. (ed.). Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families. III (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. pp. 276–7. ISBN 144996639X.

External links[edit]

Media related to Olantigh at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 51°11′54″N 0°56′48″E / 51.1984°N 0.9466°E / 51.1984; 0.9466