Sunday exploration day in Kent. Jo, Lewis and I went to see Knole House yesterday. One of the largest houses in England, its rich history dates back to the early 14th century, and next year it is due to celebrate its 700 year anniversary of when its foundation stone was laid. King Henry VIII used it as a hunting ground (Knole Park still is one of the largest deer parks in England) and it was the home of many other members of the Tudor royal family including Mary I and Edward Seymour (uncle of Edward VI). Later, during the Stuart dynasty, The Sackville family (later the earls and dukes of Dorset) purchased the house, and it is still inhabited by the family and half the house is off limits to visitors (it is now under the ownership of the National Trust). By taking the royalist side during the English civil war, and by later supporting the Hanoverian succession, the Sackville family remained influential and powerful throughout the centuries. Today it is owned by Lord Sackville, the 7th Baron. (the title change from Earl to Duke came about due to the title being bestowed by King George II, and the change from Duke to Baron came about when the 5th Duke of Dorset (Charles Sackville-Germain) had no legitimate male children, so therefore the title become extinct upon his death. The title of Baron however, was revived through the 4th Duke’s sister, Lady Elizabeth Sackville, who, through marriage, could revive the title (the title of Duke can usually only pass on via male heir). Only once, by an Act of Parliament (for the 1st Duke of Marlborough), has this been changed in the UK.
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