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Report to the Committee re the Archbishop’s Palace, Otford

A.R. Powys reported on the condition of the North-West Tower, at the request of the Rev Lutyens.


At the request of the Rev Wm Lutyens I visited Otford on the 3rd inst. To inspect the dismantled tower of the old Archbishops Palace.

The tower is the only remaining one of four.  At present it is covered with ivy.  All the floors have gone, also the roof.

The tower would be octagonal on plan but for one square angle at its S.E. corner which adjoins the newel staircase turret which no longer retains the steps.  A second closet chamber opens off the tower at its S.W. corner. This runs the full height of the tower.  The diameter of the tower is 20’6” inside and its height about 45 feet.  Few of the mullions remain in the window and the stone dressings about these and on the angles are perishing.

The ivy should be stripped from the tower as it is a serious harm to any building.  It should be killed by cutting through its chief branches at 2 or 3 intervals above the ground, say at ground level, 8 feet above and 20 feet above.  It should then be allowed to die and afterwards be carefully removed in small portions.

The wall tops and window cills should be made weatherproof and the stone dressings treated with a preservative.

Some pointing may be necessary.

The brickwork of the tower will be well worth exposing as it is particularly beautiful.

I was asked whether tower should be re-roofed and re-floored.  I fell there is little more objection to this being done here than at Tattershall, but probably the wisest course would be for the owner Lord Amhurst to hand over the care of the building to H.M. Office of Works.

I was not asked to report on the condition of the tower with a view to having it repaired and have not made any notes for this purpose.

I remain,

Yours faithfully,

signed A.R. Powys, Secretary.