This is all that remains of the main hall at Shurland Hall, which was part of a great country house built on the Isle of Sheppey by Sir Thomas Cheyne in 1510. He was a great friend of Henry VIII, who visited with Ann Boleyn in 1532. By the end of the 16th century, the buildings had fallen into disrepair and all that was really left was the gatehouse. The estate was used by the army in WW2 and the gatehouse became a farmhouse. Until a few years ago, the gatehouse itself was literally falling down. Then it was bought by the Spitalfields Trust, who have spent a lot of money together with English Heritage to stabilise the fabric of the building.
We were lucky to visit the gatehouse as it’s not usually open to the public. Sheppey Promenade has been a weekend celebrating local culture and architecture. On Friday, I attended a talk at Sheppey Little Theatre by Dan Cruikshank, where I learnt just how important Shurland Hall had been in it’s day. It was fascinating next day to see the restoration of the gatehouse. The fabric of the building has been saved, partly rebuilt, partyly conserved. Electrics and water have been added and woodwork in the regency manner, when it is known to have been updated. Now the estate is awaiting a new owner…
This window is part of one of the towers. Nowadays, it is actually at floor level in a tiny room with pipework for an ensuite!
Little one and I have also enjoyed two performances of “Paradiso”, a dance performance based on Milton’s The Devine Comedy, by Akademi. Thoroughly inspiring!