Author Topic: Rome House, Chatham  (Read 64 times)

Lyn L

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Re: Rome House, Chatham
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2019, 06:12:31 PM »
Thanks for the post about Rome House. I had lost the original one.  :)

Smiffy

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Rome House, Chatham
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2019, 05:37:23 PM »

At one time there used to be a sizeable residence called Rome (Roome) House that once stood just off Railway Street in Chatham, a road which was once known as Rome Lane. For such a prominent and important structure there seems to be surprisingly little information available about it.
 
The original building would appear to date from some time in the late 16th or early 17th century and was reportedly rebuilt in 1727. I believe its demolition took place in 1882, just prior to the construction of the Paddock and Cambridge Terrace which were built on the site it once occupied.

Sketch of Rome House showing its northern aspect:



An article dating from 1863 by William Brenchley Rye in the Archaeologia Cantiana refers to this entry from the diary of Phineas Pett, master shipwright of Chatham and later Commissioner of Chatham Dockyard, relating to a visit in 1611 by Henry, Prince of Wales:
 
"His Highness was landed at the Old Dock at Chatham a little before six at night; and thence walked, on foot to Mr. Legat's house, where his supper was ready prepared for him and his train, to his great content".
 
An annotation states that:
 
"Mr. John Legatt, a gentleman of property, resided in 1615 at his "Mansion House," called "Roome," which is still remaining".
 
The only photograph I can find that shows Rome House:



The following information is from the British history Website and dates from around 1800:
 
"This was formerly the seat of the Walkers, who alienated it to commodore Mihell; he sold it to George Hinde, esq. after whose death it was possessed by his widow, and she carried her interest in it in marriage to George Monroe, esq. since which it has been sold to James Best, esq. of Chatham, who died in 1782; one of whose sons, Mr. Richard Best, now resides in it". This is the family of famous brewers and it is my understanding that it was Thomas Best who obtained a mortgage on it in 1735. James Best Snr. paid off the mortgage in 1774 and his grandson Colonel James Best was still in residence in 1841.
 
Another reference indicates that in later years it became a School called Rome House Academy. The 1851 census shows Walter Wanstall as the schoolmaster who by 1871 had retired.
 
Location of Rome House with a later map overlaid for reference: