When Stuart met Tudor
The house dates back to around 1540 when wealthy merchant Sir John Champneys, Lord Mayor of the City of London in 1534, used stone recycled from a nearby former monastery, Lesnes Abbey, to build himself a country house on a site where a manor house was recorded some 300 years earlier in 1241.
Alterations to Champneys’ house were made in 1560. In 1649, the house was sold to another wealthy City merchant, Sir Robert Austen (1587–1666), who added a second wing built of red bricks, doubling the size of the house but without trying to harmonise the two halves built in highly contrasting architectural styles. He was created 1st Baronet, of Hall Place in Bexley, on 10 July 1660 and briefly held the office of High Sheriff of Kent.