Knole uncovered

©John Miller

The team at Knole has now started a two-year programme of emergency repairs. This is the first stage of a much larger project aiming to secure the whole of the house for the future.

©John Miller

The roof of the east front is currently being opened up and the cement render used during previous repairs is being removed.

©John Miller

Modern cement was once widely used to patch up old buildings, but its hardness actually caused more damage to the softer traditional building materials.

©John Miller

Investigations are underway to assess how the damage to the roof timbers can be best repaired and to find out what the structure can reveal about the building’s history.

©John Miller

As curator Emma Slocombe says: ‘There have been many more interventions and build stages in the external envelope of the building than we had thought. We are fascinated by each new revelation. It is an incredibly moving experience to see Knole in this state.’

©John Miller

Some lucky visitors were recently able to take scaffolding tours of the building, to see Knole’s skeleton for themselves.

15 Responses to “Knole uncovered”

  1. deana Says:

    My goodness, the roof is magnificent… those timbers are works of art. I was looking at Penshurst Place’s Baron’s Hall ceiling lately and felt the same way… those ancient chestnut beams are just staggeringly beautiful.

  2. Fiona Macalister Says:

    What beautiful photographs and fascinating to see. Great to be able to follow the progress of the work at Knole in this way. Fiona Macalister


  3. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Deana, I agree, it is terrifically sculptural.

    Indeed, Fiona – you are used to seeing this sort of thing in a model, but then you realise that this is the actual building.

  4. visitinghousesandgardens Says:

    Great pictures. Will there also be October tours as the NT website only mentions past September tours ( and I’d definitely like to pop down to Sevenoaks.

  5. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Sorry that is my mistake: I assumed it was an ongoing thing, but the tours were only in September, apparently. Apologies for whetting your apetite in vain!

  6. Mark D. Ruffner Says:

    It’s amazing to look at the timbers and see those pegs. For the restorer, it must feel like deciphering a rare manuscript or opening a tomb and seeing treasures inside. Thanks for sharing these fascinating photographs.

  7. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Mark, yes your comparisons with philology and archaeology are apt.

  8. knolenationaltrust Says:

    Thanks for another great blog about Knole Emile

  9. Sandra Jonas Says:


  10. Sandra Jonas Says:

    OOops! that is FASCINATING.

  11. Andrew Says:

    Great photos. I visited Knole for the first time in August, so missed the roof visit. I recall there was a similar opportunity at Tyntesfield a while ago.

    Interesting to visit a house undergoing substantial repairs, but I must go back when the programme is completed!

    More at

  12. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Knole, on the contrary, thanks for letting me use the images. And of course you know that I think your own blog is one of the best National Trust blogs:

    Sandra, thank you.

    Andrew, as usual you have managed to find an additional resource 🙂 Thanks very much for that link, it is very interesting to read more about what the experts are uncovering. And it is great that the Museum of London archaeology team are blogging about their involvement in this project.

    The entire Knole restoration project may take up to 10 years, so you may want to visit again before then – there are bound to be more ‘conservation in action’ events as the project unfolds.

  13. CherryPie Says:

    This sounds a fascinating project.

  14. Down East Dilettante Says:

    Completely, utterly, fascinating to see

  15. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Cherie, Dilettante – yes, a real ‘inside story’ 🙂

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