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Owletts - geograph.org.uk - 323261.jpg
National Trust property, open Sundays April to October, and still lived in by Baker family
Coordinates 51°23′35″N 0°23′31″E / 51.393°N 0.392°E / 51.393; 0.392Coordinates: 51°23′35″N 0°23′31″E / 51.393°N 0.392°E / 51.393; 0.392
OS grid reference TQ 665 687
Built 1683/4
Built for Bonham Hayes (farmer)
Restored conservation works 2010-2012 by Nationsl Trust
Architect Bonham Hayes
Architectural style(s) extended and altered by Sir Herbert Baker
Governing body The National Trust. Www.nationaltrust.org.uk/Owletts
Type Grade II*
Designated 27 August 1952
Reference no. 1049097
Owletts is located in Kent
Owletts location in Kent

Owletts, Kent, is a country house 1.3 kilometres (0.8 mi) to the northwest of the village of Cobham, Kent, England.

It is a Grade II* listed building.[1][2]


The house was originally built for Bonham and Elizabeth Hayes, successful farmers in the Cobham area. The red-brick Kentish Yeoman's house is symmetrical, two storeys high, with sliding sash and dormer windows. The house interiors date in part to 1684, and include a remarkably ornate Carolean plasterwork ceiling above the prinicpal staircase.[3]

The house passed in 1894 to the Edmeades family of Nurstead (also in the parish of Gravesend), then by marriage to the Baker family.[1]

In 1862 the renowned architect Sir Herbert Baker was born here. Owletts became Herbert Baker's home in later life and he made numerous alterations including the addition of a porch and a wing on the north-west corner of the house. He also removed the wall between the entrance hall and the drawing room and in that room installed an ornamental 'Empire' clock.[1] The family filled the house with specially commissioned or collected furniture.[3]

The house has a garden partly designed by Gertrude Jekyll, who was introduced to Baker by Edwin Lutyens (her friend) when he was working with Baker in Ernest George and Harold Peto's architectural office in London.[4]

Acanthus plants growing in the garden are symbolic of Herbert Baker's architectural profession. Also within the garden is a bird-bath formed from Tivoli Order variant Corinthian capitals salvaged from the old Bank of England building by John Soane when Sir Herbert rebuilt the Bank (between 1925 and 1939).[5]

When Herbert Baker died at the age of 83 on 4 February 1946 he left Owletts to the National Trust.[6] The National Trust let it out, but some rooms and the garden are regularly open to the public. The current tenant is David Baker and his family; the great-grandson and heir of Sir Herbert Baker.

The house closed in 2011 for a £1 million refit, during which the collection of 900 objects and 1,400 books was carefully packed and stored off-site.[7] It reopened on 7 April 2013.[8]


  1. ^ a b c "Owletts, Cobham". www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "Owletts, The Street". english-heritage.org.uk. Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Owletts". www.britainexpress.com. Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "BAKER, Sir Herbert John". www.artefacts.co.za. Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "Buildings and Architects". www.bankofengland.co.uk. Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "Herbert Baker". The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs 36 (142): 107–108. 1942. doi:10.1080/00358534608451375. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "Returning the historic collection at Owletts". www.nationaltrust.org.uk. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  8. ^ Dubuis, Anna (14 January 2013). "Sir Herbert Baker’s Cobham house Owletts to reopen". The Reporter (Gravesend). 

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