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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 63  1950  pages 136

A Note on the Rebuilding of Knole by Archbishop Bourgchier. By F. B. H. DuBoulay, M.Acontinued

and it is this which gives information about expenditure on Knole manor. Unfortunately, the series of receiver’s accounts for Otford is incomplete, but enough details remain from the years 1455-6, 1462-3 and 1465-6 to show the sort of activity which was on hand at Knole.
   The indenture of sale was dated 30th June, 1456, and work must have begun very rapidly on the newly-purchased house, as a glance at the account for Michaelmas 1455 to Christmas 1456 will show. The bailiff was, as it were, the archbishop’s "Minister of Works" within his district. He accounted for money received for special purposes from the archbishop’s treasury and elsewhere, and for money spent on materials and labour. If another officer, like Alexander Wood,1 incurred expenditure for Knole, then such expenditure would be entered both on the receipt and the expenditure side of the Otford balance-sheet. Alexander Wood had some prepared lead carted down to Knole from the store at Lambeth which was under his supervision; accordingly, this item, worth £4 13s. 4d., is entered both under Grymedyche’s "Foreign Receipts" and under his "Costs of the manor of Knole."
   These accounts for the most part speak for themselves, but it is interesting to note that the roll for the first year in three distinct places uses the word reparacio. The manor is to be repaired, it seems, rather than built anew, just as the manor of Otford was in the same year under repair. At the same time, too, a new water-mill was being built at Otford,

and here the operative word is constructura. And yet, in 1463, when accounts for Knole manor again appear, the reparacio has become the novum edificium and operations have expanded on to an altogether bigger scale, with workers in stone more in evidence than workers in wood, and the annual costs nearly quadrupled. It is impossible to recreate the archbishop’s intentions, but it looks as though the first task had been to make the place habitable and, once this had been done, to begin new building in earnest. According to his register, Bourgchier did not actually stay at Knole until 5th March, 1459, although it had been his for nearly three years, and not until 1464 did he begin to stop there for appreciable periods. Otford, on the other hand, housed him at frequent intervals from May, 1456, onwards. Doubtless he took opportunities to ride over and inspect the progressing work. Bourgchier loved Knole more than any other of his houses (a taste with which Henry VIII was later to agree) and possibly made his permanent home there in his old age. A lost indult from Pope Sixtus IV in 1483 gave the archbishop the curious permission permutandi suam residenciam de uno loco ad alium.2 Why such permission should have been necessary is not clear. At all events,
  1 Receiver-General for the archbishop’s non-Kentish estates at this time.
  2 Calendar of Papal Letters, XIII, p. 913.

 

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