Chilston Park

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Chilston in 1719 Plants: image 2 0f 4 thumb 

In the early 12th century the manor of Chilston is recorded as being the property of William Fitz-Hamon. It became the property of the Hoese or Hussey family in the 13th century, who held it until 1545, when it was sold to John Parkhurst. After his descendant Sir William Parkhurst sold the manor to Richard Northwood of Thanet, it passed quickly through the possession of several owners before becoming the property of Edward Hales in 1650. Hales was a nephew of Sir Edward Hales and was briefly MP for Hythe in 1685 and 1689. He died in 1696 and his daughters sold the house in 1698 to Elizabeth Hamilton, widow of James Hamilton and mother of James Hamilton, 6th Earl of Abercorn.

Elizabeth Hamilton died in 1709 and is buried in the church at Hollingbourne. The estate was inherited by her younger son William Hamilton, who left it on his death in 1737 to his son John Hamilton. He sold the estate to Thomas Best, MP for Canterbury (1741–54 and 1761–68). The next owner was his nephew George Best, MP for Rochester (1790–96). Following Best's death in 1819, the house was bought by George Douglas, passing to James Stoddart Douglas, MP for Rochester (1841–47), and then to a distant relative Aretas Akers in 1875.

Akers, who was MP for East Kent (1880–85) then St Augustine's (1885–1911), added Douglas to his family name. He was Home Secretary from 1902 to 1905 and, in 1911, was created Viscount Chilston. Chilston Park remained in the Akers-Douglas family until the estate was sold by the fourth viscount in 1983. Since then, the house and most of the parkland have been used as a country-house hotel.



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Last modified: Saturday, 18 March 2017