Finest Hour 175, Winter 2017
By Stefan Buczacki
A common trap that people fall into is to refer to Winston Churchill’s beloved country estate in Kent as “ Chartwell Manor.” Even Mary Soames in her wonderful memoir A Daughter’s Tale made this error.
It is true the house was informally, but only ever informally, called Chartwell Manor around the time Mary was born and her father bought the estate in 1922—simply because it was a big and imposing residence. But it was not then and never had been a manor house, and it is quite incorrect and careless to use this as its proper name. Churchill himself never appears to have referred to his house as a manor and simply used “Chartwell” on his stationery. Most of all, the National Trust, as the present owner, does not use the term “manor” because it is legally wrong.
Parts of the house are mediaeval, and down the centuries it was called Well Street or Wellstreet, or occasionally Well Place. It was renamed Chartwell by John Campbell Colquhoun, who bought the estate in the nineteenth century, and the name first appears in the 1851 Kent census. The name was taken from the