Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

Trees at Wildernesse House in Sevenoaks have links to famous historic figures

THE renovations carried out by retirement housing specialists PegasusLife at Wildernesse House near Sevenoaks have restored the imposing mansion to its former glory and people purchasing one of their luxury apartments for the over 60s are surrounded by many of the original features in the property which was built in the 1800s.

The refurbishment is being extended to the estate that surrounds the impressive property and residents and their guests can stroll through the beautiful formal gardens and natural woodland. But what they may not realise is that they are taking a step back through history.

There are several giant Wellingtonia trees which were planted in the grounds to commemorate a visit by the Duke of Wellington in 1832 when he reviewed the Yeomanry Cavalry.

The planting took place after the Duke’s death in 1852 as Wellingtonias were not introduced to the UK until 1853 when a plant hunter called William Lobb brought seeds and saplings back from a visit he had made to the foothills of California’s Sierra Nevada range in America.

John Lindley of the Horticultural Society was given the task of naming the species and he decided on ‘Wellingtonia gigantea’ to commemorate the recently deceased Duke of Wellington – much to the irritation of his American counterparts who were already considering the name of ‘Washingtonia’ in honour their first President George Washington.

The impressive Avenue of Waterloo Limes planted to commemorate a visit by the Duke of Wellington to Wildernesse House in March 1815

This is not the only link to the Duke of Wellington and Wildernesse House. There is a striking double line of Limes in Wildernesse avenue, created when the estate was owned by the first Marquess of Camden.

One of the Marquess of Camden’s best friends was Arthur Wellesley who had been his aide-de camp in Ireland. In 1814 Wellesley became Marquess of Douro and 1st Duke of Wellington and the impressive avenue of Lime trees was planted to celebrate this investiture and his visit to Wildernesse House in March 1815.

The Duke of Wellington’s visit was just three months before he led a British allied army into the now famous victory over Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo on the 18 June 1815.

Wildernesse House also has links to some famous royal names from the past. An extract from a brochure produced by the Sevenoaks Society on significant trees in the area has a section headlined ‘The mark of a royal marriage’.

It states: “The magnificent ancient Sweet (or Spanish) Chestnuts forming an unusual right-angled avenue in Woodland Rise and Dorton Drive in the Wilderness estate were planted to commemorate the marriage of Henry V111 to Catherine of Aragon on in 1509.

One of the impressive chestnut trees in the grounds of Wildernesse House.

“The (Wildernesse) Estate, one of the ancient manors that surrounded Sevenoaks, was at one-time acquired by Anne Boleyn’s father until Henry V111 confiscated it when the Boylens fell out of favour.”

PegasusLife, the new owners of Wildernesse House, was established in 2012. The company’s motivation is to rethink and reinvent the places and ways in which we live as we get older.

They have redeveloped Wildernesse House into a collection of luxury one and two-bedroom apartments on the upper floors of the main house, one-and two-bedroom ‘legacy’ apartments on the ground floor, and 8 two-bedroom mews houses in the newly built stable block. The development also includes spa/wellness facilities and The new Pavilion restaurant which is now open to the public.

For more information on properties and the facilities available at Wildernesse House CLICK HERE

The Pavilion Restaurant head chef Nasri Mhamed.

You can also read our feature on The Pavilion Restaurant at Wildernesse House by CLICKING HERE

To book a table at the Pavilion restaurant call: 01732 494722

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