Who We Are
Godmersham Park Heritage Centre was opened to the public in 2008, by kind permission of Mr. John Sunley, of Godmersham Park. The Heritage Centre holds the records of the parishes of Godmersham and Crundale, as well as The Godmersham Park Estate. A small exhibition hall documents the history of the two villages, located in the North (Wye) Downs in Kent, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Heritage Centre has a growing number of collections on the history of the area, including the archives of Rex Lancefield, the famous Kent historian. Each year the collections are growing, as we actively record living history, ready for future generations.
Items of interest include:
- The Diaries of Fanny Knight (Jane's Niece)
- William Harvey's Book - The Discoveries of Circulation on the Blood
- Collection of Coins and Artifacts dating back to Viking Times
Another major attraction is Godmersham Park itself. Built in 1732, it was once the home of Edward Knight (nee Austen), brother to the novelist Jane Austen. The house itself is closed to the public. However, a public footpath runs through part of the estate, offering views of the House and Folly. Further information on the house and it's glamorous past is displayed here at the Heritage Centre.
During your visit, you can also visit the St Lawrence the Martyr Church, and see the memorials of Thomas Knight and his Family (relations of Edward Knight). Or you can walk the North Downs Way to neighbouring Chilham, with its historic square, used in films such as Jane Austen's Emma.
Please note that there is no access to Godmersham Park Estate and House via The Godmersham Park Heritage Centre. The House at Godmersham is a private house, and is used by ABDO as a College for dispensing opticians, and therefore has no public access.
(Photograph: Godmersham Park House - taken by Rebecca Lilley BA Hons)