About this property
Meticulously restored with advice from a distinguished interior designer, this remarkable house has been reimagined for contemporary living with all modern amenities and access to a large south west terrace from four of the main rooms.
Milgate is situated about a mile from the centre of the village of Bearsted with its bakery, butcher’s shop, newsagent, village hall, two country pubs on the village green; and Bearsted station with a direct service to London Victoria.
The history of the house can be traced back to the 1300’s with prominent owners during the reigns of Elizabeth 1st and George 1st. The grand Georgian front range, grafted onto a large Tudor courtyard house, was built to impress, with a double height staircase-hall enriched with murals, and finely fitted reception rooms.
- Milgate House is located along a private road, close to the village of Bearsted which lies just under 1 mile away. Bearsted provides good local shopping with a butcher, baker, delicatessen, restaurants and pubs.
- Comprehensive shopping: can be found in Maidstone and Ashford. Bluewater shopping centre is located just off the M25 Junction 2 (A2/M2).
- Rail services: Bearsted (1 mile) to London Victoria from 1 hour 9 mins, Staplehurst station (9.2 miles) to London Charing Cross from 1 hour 1 min and London Bridge from 52 minutes. The high speed service from Ebbsfleet to London St Pancras takes 16 to 17 minutes. www.nationalrail.co.uk
- Education: Like many parts of Kent there are some excellent schools. In the state sector there are grammar schools for boys’ and girls’ in Maidstone, Cranbrook and Tonbridge. There are also some local primary schools with excellent Ofsted reports. In the private sector there are excellent independent girls, boys and co-educational schools in Sutton Valence, Canterbury and Tonbridge at both junior and senior level.
- Motorway links: The M25 via the M20/M26 can be accessed at J5 and the M20 (1 mile) via J8 both providing links to Gatwick and Heathrow airport and other motorway networks.
- The documented history of Milgate can be traced back to its ownership by Robert de Coloigne in 1361 (ref. Philipott: Villare Cantianum, 1659). However the water mills on the River Len from which it gets it’s name are known to be much older. One is recorded in the Domesday Book as ‘Turneham 1 mill’, and pieces of a Roman millstone have recently been found in the bed of the millstream. Whilst no traces of a Roman habitation have been found, there are traces of a medieval building beneath and beside the current dining room and a stone tunnel, identified as medieval, passes beneath the house at that point. From Thomas Coluney’s Will of 1473 we know there was a substantial building with rooms on the west side of the hall, at the location of the current dining room.
- Milgate has never been the hub of an aristocratic estate but twice it’s owners have been Knights with connections to the Royal Court. The first was Sir Thomas Fludd who – by adding an additional magnificence (made) the ancient fabric swell into the dimensions not only of a stately but an elegant pile” (ref: Philipott1). Until more influential voices at Court got him replaced, Fludd was Elizabeth I’s Treasurer of War, responsible for funding her forces in France and Holland; and was for many years her Receiver of Revenue for Kent, Surrey and Sussex. Fludd’s late 16th century additions are visible in the south-west or kitchen wing of the house.
- The Cage family succeeded the Fludds around 1624, and the impressive reception rooms of the current house were created by them at the start of their nearly 300 years of ownership. Sir William Cage received his knighthood in 1660 for being one of the leaders of the Royalist cavalcade through the County that led to the restoration of the Stuart monarchy. His son, another William Cage, built the ‘Splendid’ baroque front block around 1713 and commissioned the murals on the walls and ceiling of the staircase. As one of the leading Kent families, the Cages intermarried with the family of Jane Austen’s brother Edward and this led to references to Milgate in her letters; and her familiarity with the family and the house. Through the 19th century notable tenants of the house were Sir John Croft of the port dynasty who spied for Wellington in the Peninsula War, and Julius Lucius Brenchley, a gentleman explorer who donated hundreds of South Pacific tribal artifacts to the British Museum and the Maidstone Museum.
- Walter Fremlin, the major local brewer, purchased Milgate in 1902 and made changes to the historic fabric that have all now been reversed, except for his bay windows on the western corner. The house then staggered through the country house recession until Guinness money in the shape of Lady Caroline Blackwood bought Milgate in the 1970’s with her husband, the Pulitzer Prize winning poet Robert Lowell. He summarised the history of the house (somewhat inaccurately) in his poem ‘Fall Weekend at Milgate’.
- 1 Philipott Villare Cantianum, 1659
- 2 Pevsner, West Kent and The Weald
- Directions: Upon leaving the M20 at junction 8, take the signs to the A20 towards Maidstone. Immediately after the turning on the right for Bearsted Green and Thurnham take the private road, signposted Milgate Park and the property will be found at the end of the drive.
- EPC Exempt
- Tenure = Freehold