Warden Manor


Warden Manor was once a part of Warden Court, former home of many well known people. It was given to Sir Thomas Cheyne by King Henry VIII, and Delamark Banks lived here after leaving Sheppey Court.

There are many rumours about Warden Manor - it is believed that there are tunnels running from the basement to Shurland Hall and also to a local pub; this cannot be proved as the basement has been filled due to frequent flooding. They are believed to have been used either by smugglers or as an escape route for priests during King Henry VIII’s reign. Another rumour is of ghosts, the manor is thought to be haunted by many apparitions - someone working there saw a woman in ‘old fashioned costume’ that walked across the room and disappeared through a wall. People have been told there is a priest hole within Warden Manor although nobody has ever found it.

Sir John Sawbridge, a magistrate who was involved in smuggling, owned the manor during the 18th century. On the arrival of a ship carrying cargo a homing pigeon was released, the pigeon would fly to Warden Manor and alert the smugglers by way of a hatch in the roof that the cargo had been unloaded into the sea and beached by the tide at Barrow Brook Gap. The smugglers would pick up the cargo using horses and carts, people have reported seeing the ghost of Sir John Sawbridge galloping through the woods at night on his way to pick up his booty.

During WWI the Manor was used as a small hospital and similarly during WWII it was used as a convalescent home for officers. After the Second World War the army apparently dropped old ammunition into a pond that was in the grounds, one of the bombs exploded and slightly damaged a building being used as a chapel.

In the 1930’s Cecil Jackson-Cole allowed Toc H to use it as a holiday home for the elderly - Toc H was a charitable organisation with was founded during the First World War. Vic Martin ran the manor for many years and is still remembered and talked about fondly. It was taken over by Cecil Jackson-Cole’s brother and the guest rooms were changed to different themes. There were rooms called Orient Express and Little Orient, these were decorated like sleeper carriages, and The Ship, which had a maritime theme. Also there was The Ark, which was above the refectory, this area had rooms named Zebra, Elephant and Lion. The holiday periods were also themed and up to the 1980’s you could find a black witch on her broomstick drawn on the wall of the refectory and a verse that read:

Here we serve the Warden hags, Casting spells in paper bags, Curses on you witches all Who made poor Vic drive through the wall.

It is believed the verse was written after Vic Martin crashed his car, the picture is from an ancient witchcraft week drawn by a guest.

After WWII Warden Manor was sold and parts of the land were sold to monks who have turned it into The Monastery of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, there are around 50 monks and nuns living there.

Designed & built by - Kevin Ali