Building History

Sir Edward Filmer (son of Robert Filmer and Frances Chester) was born on January 17th 1565 (or 1566) in East Sutton - he died on November 2nd 1629. Edward inherited the "Charlton Court" estate when his father Robert died in 1585, the same year that he had married Elizabeth, sister of John Argall and daughter of Richard Argall (1536-1588). Reginald Kempe (previous occupant/owner of CC) married Mary Argall (sister of Elizabeth Argall) in 1590. The house as we know it had not been built yet - Edward had it built between 1609 and 1612. The buildings and grounds prior to the construction of "Charlton Court" were previously owned by the Kempe Family. The stables and coachhouse (built circa 1549) remained but the previous house where the 1612 manor was built was demolished. The design of "Charlton Court" was attributed to John Thorpe (sometimes described as the first British architect). Charlton was also spelled Charleton. It is a fine example of Renaissance architecture (Jacobean style) - the 1612 date is on the eastern gable. It was never completely finished as envisioned - only about one-third was built. About 1610, John Argall (1576-1642) sold "East Sutton Place" to his brother-in-law Sir Edward Filmer who moved into it circa 1614. East Sutton Place was a much larger building that was built around 1570. This event was to have great impact on the history of Charlton Court. A portrait of Sir Edward in 1623 is on the Picture Gallery page. The Filmers had 18 children.

Notes: (1) The main building was originally called "Charlton-court". (2) Daniel de Charleton built a house on the site in the 14th century during the reign of King Edward II (1307-1327), it was then owned by his descendant John de Charleton in the twentieth year of King Edward III (1327-1377). Hence the name Charleton (later spelt as Charlton). Sometime between 1612 and 1798 the building was known as "Little Charlton", "Little Charleton", "Little Charlton Manor", "Little Charleton Manor", "Little Charlton House" & "Little Charleton House".

The list of owners following was compiled by Tony Hillman: there is history of a house at Charlton Court from just before William the Conqueror. Three houses are believed to have occupied the site. One is thought to be of Saxon origin, one medieval and the third is Charlton Court built in 1612.


1064 Leofwin (10??-1066) (brother of King Harold)
1066 Adam FitzHerbert (one of the organisers of the Domesday Book)
1199 Baldwin de Bethune (11??-1212) (Earl of Albermarle)
1203 de Charletons
1227 Charleton Court 'close rolls' - (change of owner)
1307 Daniel de Charleton then John de Charleton
1330 Roger de Leybourne
1366 William de Leybourne
1459 Stone manor existed
1502 Sir Thomas Kempe
1506 Stephen Kempe
1553 Reginald Kempe (1553-1611)
1557 Amy Kempe
15?? Robert Filmer (1525-1585)
1585 Sir Edward Filmer (1566-1629 - son of above)
1629 Sir Robert Filmer (1588-1653 - eldest son of above)
1653 Edward Filmer (1619-1668 - eldest son of above)
1668 Robert Filmer (1622-1675, 1st bart - brother of above)
1675 Robert Filmer (1648-1720, 2nd bart, eldest son of above)
1720 Sir Edward Filmer (1683-1755, 3rd bart - son of above)
1755 Sir John Filmer (1716-1797, 4th bart - son of above...he had no children)
1797 Sir Beversham Filmer (1718-1805, 5th bart - son of Sir Edward Filmer 3rd bart...he had no children)
1805 Reverend Sir Edmund Filmer (1727-1810, 6th bart - son of Sir Edward Filmer 3rd bart)
1810 Reverend Sir John Filmer (1760-1834, 7th bart - son of above...unmarried)
1834 Sir Edmund Filmer (1809-1857, 8th bart - son of Captain Edmund Filmer [1764-1810] who was the son of Edmund Filmer 6th bart)
1857 Edmund Filmer (1835-1886, 9th bart - son of above)
1886 Sir Robert Marcus Filmer (1878-1916, 10th Bart - 2nd son of above, Edmund's first son Beversham died in infancy)
1916 Arthur Stanley Wilson-Filmer (1868-1938). He had married Alice Cecil Agnes Filmer (daughter of Edmund Filmer 9th bart in 1892)
1948 Bethlem Royal Trust
1954 Otto Shaw (Red Hill Trust)
2004 Ian Fern

Little Charleton was completely deserted by the Filmer family around 1614, suffered to remain incomplete, and was used as a farm house and also as a dower house. In this state it remained until around 1840, when, having become completely dilapidated, the owner at the time Sir Edmund Filmer M.P. 8th Bart (1809-1857), enlarged and completely repaired it, the additions and restorations being strictly copied from the ancient structure (3).

The stables & coachhouse were renovated. Additions of two small wings (east & west), a room on a pole over the north entrance as well as the porch at the main entrance (facing west) were built between 1840 and 1845 - the contractor was Tassell and Bulmer from Maidstone. Catherine L. Monro (4) - the mother of Helen Monro (5) occupied the building around the time of the renovations. The room above the porch at the main entrance was added later - sometime between 1846 and 1870.

After the work was completed around 1845, Little Charleton was leased to wealthy tenants - at that time the house was once again called Charlton Court (6). Note: Shortly after the mid-19th century additions & renovations the building was briefly known as Charlton House and possibly as Charlton Park. Known tenants were the families of Captain Charles John Henry R.A. (7), George Gape (8), Henry Brenchley (9) during the years 1850 to 1886 (approx) and John Corlett (10) from 1886 to 1912 (approx) - exact occupancy dates for each family not known. During WW1 (1914-1917) the house was used as a military hospital (20 - 25 beds) - a VAD hospital. First used educationally by The Caldecott Community from 1917 to 1924 as a boarding school for working men's children and then from 1935-1992 housing "Red Hill School" but the main building was still known as "Charlton Court". From 1925 until sometime in 1930 it was occupied by Countess Kintore (11). The properties in East Sutton were inherited by the Wilson family in 1916 after Sir Robert Marcus Filmer (who had no heirs) was killed in WW1. The Wilsons had married into the Filmer family with the marriage of Arthur Stanley Wilson to Alice Cecil Agnes Filmer in 1892. The Wilson-Filmer family owned the property until 1948. Bethlem Hospital bought the buildings and grounds in 1948 but Bethlem never occupied Charlton Court - instead they sold the entire complex to "The Red Hill Trust" (Otto Shaw) in 1954 . From 1993 until October 2003 it was leased by Kent County Council and used as a local school for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties.


(1)N antiently called Charlton-Court per 1798 book by Edward Hasted 'The History and Topographical Survey of the county of Kent: Volume 5' - East Sutton section.
(2)N per 1874 book " by William Carew Hazlitt 'Tenures of Land and Customs of Manors'. Also reference is made in the 1798 Hasted book that the original building was occupied in the reigns of Edward II (1307-1327) and Edward III (1327-1377).
(3)Nper 1843 book 'Studies from Old English Mansions - third series' by Charles James Richardson.
(4)N[1773-1847], née MacKenzie - 1841 to 1847 resided at Little Charlton, East Sutton per 1841 Phipps directory + 1841 Post Office Directory + 1843 book 'Studies from Old English Mansions - third series' by C. J. Richardson + 1847 Bagshaw directory (Phipps & Bagshaw as Mrs Caroline Munro, others as Mrs Monro). Mention is made on page 138 of Little Charlton and of the late Mrs Caroline Munro in the 1848 book 'The New Illustrated Hand-Book to Folkestone and it's Picturesque Neighbourhood'.
(5)NHelen Filmer [1810-1888], née Monro - sometimes spelled Munro, was the wife of Sir Edmund Filmer, 8th Baronet - they lived at East Sutton Place (also in London at 90 Eaton Square, Westminster).
(6) Nthe building today is still known as Charlton Court.
(7) Nin 1851 - resided at Charlton Park, East Sutton (& wife Selena Constance) per Post Office directory for 1851. Also listed in 1851 census (with several family members) in East Sutton (house name omitted).
(8) N[1793->1863] - in 1861 resided at Charlton House, East Sutton (with wife Frances Elizabeth & several family members) per 1861 census. Also in 1863 at Charlton House per 1863 Kent Archaeological Society book titled Archaeologia Cantiana. No-one listed on 1871 census at Charlton House (except for 3 servants).
(9) N[1828-1887]. Well known cricketer for Kent. 1881 census shows him (& wife Margaret) at Charlton House, East Sutton.
(10) [1841-1915] - 1886 through 1912 (approx) he resided at Charlton Court, East Sutton (with wife Mary & several family members) per 1891, 1901 & 1911 censuses. John's wife Mary died on 14th January 1909. He was the owner/editor of The Sporting Times newspaper otherwise known as the "pink-un" due to its pink colour. John was the editor of this London based newspaper from 1874-1912. His son Archibald John Corlett (1875-1901) died in South Africa while serving in the Buffs regiment during the Boer war. John died on 23rd June 1915.
(11) [1851-1932] - in 1925 resided at Charlton House, East Sutton per Burkes Peerage. Real name Sydney Charlotte Keith-Falconer (wife of Algernon Hawkins Thogond Keith-Falconer - 9th Earl of Kintore, 1851-1930).