The Mystery of the Missing Fireplace…

Godinton possesses some spectacular fireplaces, mantelpieces and overmantels, and one of the mysteries that has been haunting me since the start of the year has been that of a ‘missing’ set. One of our volunteer guides, Karina, and her daughter Claire came in to share some of Claire’s research with me, including the fact she’d discovered an old photograph of a fireplace from Godinton that no-one recognised.

After much deliberation, and several trips round the house with the photo in hand, we concluded it must have been located in the Priests’ Room, from the location of the windows and the dimensions of the room. This was then corroborated by another photo Claire unearthed, which shows the fireplace in the Priest’s Room, prior to the east wall being opened up.



Some of the overmantel decoration was kept, whilst other wooden panelling and carving was moved elsewhere in the house. Liberty’s of London carried out extensive work in the Priest’s Room and Great Hall in the early 20th century, but there is no precise date for when this particular aspect of work was carried out.

However, the stone fireplace carving, which can be seen in the first photo, was also replaced to one of Bethersden marble. The old stone carvings have (thankfully!) been rescued from languishing in the Builders’ Yard by Alan, one of our gardeners. Whilst the stone is now in pieces, it definitely is the same stonework in the original photo – it’s not in good condition, but it does still exist. It seems remarkable that this stonework has remained on site for 100 (or so) years, and was brought to my attention seemingly at the perfect time. Any ideas on what we could do with these remaining pieces would be very welcome, as it seems a shame to leave them lying almost forgotten!