Chartwell, the home of Winston Churchill, was built as early as the 16th century when the estate was called, “Well Street.” There was a well at the north side of the house called, “Chart Well.” “Chart”is an Old English word for rough ground. Henry VIII is reputed for staying here, when he was courting Anne Boleyn at nearby Hever Castle. In the 19th century, Chartwell was a brick farmhouse of tile-hung and poky windows.
The Churchill’s bought the property in 1922, which consisted of the main farmhouse on 80 acres and three cottages. They immediately set out to renovate and update the house and gardens. There was a dam made, creating small lakes, where Churchill could fish. Smaller ponds were linked by steps descending from the terraces. Churchill often commented, “A day away from Chartwell is a day wasted!”
In 1938, Churchill, suffering from big losses on Wall Street, put the estate up for sale. The industrialist, Sir Henry Strakosch agreed to take over Churchill’s stock market shares for three years and pay off all Chartwell’s debts. Even so, by 1946, the Churchill’s could no longer afford the property, so a consortium of wealthy businessmen purchased the estate and arranged a nominal rent for the Churchill’s, so they could live there until their deaths. Churchill died in 1965, and Lady Churchill decided to give the property to the National Trust at a pre-arranged time. I think this home had brought back too many memories for her……
What is the Marlborough Pavilion? Lady Churchill created the small outdoor entertaining area, surrounded by her rose garden, in 1927, and painted the inside walls, pink! It depicts the 1704 Battle of Blenheim, in Germany. The battle was led by the Duke of Marlborough, Sir Winston’s ancestor. You can’t go wrong with ANYTHING PINK!
There are roses everywhere!
There are rock gardens, terraced fish pond gardens, a walled garden, and a huge kitchen garden with a small playhouse kitchen in it for the children…..one garden after another! Each one, with it’s own personal style!
This is Georgina Landemare’s kitchen garden….Mrs Landemare started her career as an under-kitchen maid, eventually working her way up through the ranks under French Chef, Paul Landemare, whom she married! Working for the Churchill’s since 1930, she first worked at Chartwell doing weekend parties. In 1939, she started full time as a private cook at No.10 Downing Street and the War Rooms, during the week. On the weekends she went to Chartwell, until it became too dangerous for the family there. Just before a bomb fell on No 10 Downing Street, she was called repeatedly to the bomb shelter. When she finally got there she told Churchill, “Sir, the soufflé, is not quite done.” You have to admire a woman like that! On VE night, Sir Winston Churchill told her, he would not have made it through the war without her! It is quite fitting the kitchen garden and all the added activities, to be found here, are named for her! It is also interesting, that the brick wall around this huge garden was laid, brick for brick, by Churchill himself!
In addition, to all these lovely gardens, there is an art studio in one of the three cottages. There is also a Butterfly Pavilion and a restaurant filled with Churchill’s quotes! This is truly a wonderful National Trust Property, with well kept gardens and a house that has been lovingly restored as well. I did not show any of the photos of the house, since this is for a SOS. I hope you have enjoyed this quick walk through of the garden! It is definitely worth a visit!
The instructions for SOS are easy. The photos can be flowers, vegetables, a garden design, whatever, as long as it’s garden related and posted on Saturday! So, its six photos. Of Gardens. On Saturday. Easy Peasy. To see all the SOS’s look at SIX ON SATURDAY, hosted by the Propagator, to check out all of them each Saturday! See you next week!
PS I am away on travels this week (YEAH) so this post has been pre-scheduled. I will not be able to read or comment on your thoughts for a few days, but I will get to them when I get back! Adding some new adventures! Cady