This blog tells the story of my family’s return to Court Lodge in Kent from New Zealand, and our attempt to restore and renovate it, and make it commercially viable in the 21st Century.

Ruby, Heather, Ian and Damian Dyke, before we left New Zealand

Ruby, Heather, Ian and Damian Dyke, before we left New Zealand

Court Lodge has been in the Morland family for nearly 300 years. It’s currently owned by my parents, Nick and Gwenda Morland, who have been managing it since the early 1980s. At the end of 2012 I moved back from New Zealand with my husband, Ian, and my two children, Ruby and Damian, to take over the reins from my parents, as it had started to become a bit of a struggle for them.

Before my father inherited Court Lodge it was owned by his uncle, William Morland. William divided the house into flats between the late 1940s to the 1960s, and let them out to tenants. When Dad took over from his uncle the house was in a pretty poor state, and he did a lot to improve it. In recent years, however, the maintenance has not been kept up to date, and the house is again in need of a lot of TLC.

The major problem that we face is that, as a residential lettings business, Court Lodge is currently not bringing in enough income to pay for its huge heating, maintenance and gardening bills. We need an alternative plan. We spent our first year here getting to grips with the place, and formulating our rescue plan. We are going to change the flats from residential lets to holiday lets. We are also going to make the larger rooms in the house available for weddings and functions. In combination these projects will bring in more income than Court Lodge currently makes, and will enable us to schedule and pay for all the maintenance and restoration work that needs to be done on the building.

There are lots of strands to this project. As well as updating and renovating the flats, and the main function rooms, there is the garden which, we have discovered is historically significant. Part of it was designed by the well known Victorian firm of garden designers James Pulham and Son in 1868. The garden has also been let go in recent years, and we plan to apply for grant funding to restore it to its former glory.

We are also finding out lots of interesting things about the history of Court Lodge and its occupants from reading all the archive material that is both here in the house and at the County archives.


6 thoughts on “About

    1. heatherdyke Post author

      Thanks Jan, it is lovely, but very hard work! I haven’t ruled out a return to philosophy – how could I? – I’ll have to see how things go. In the meantime, please follow the blog to see how we get on, and spread the word among philosophers. We have meeting rooms and accommodation – perfect for philosophy retreats. 🙂

  1. Jan Arreman

    Hi Heather, as a philosopher outside academia I don’t know if I can supply you with a substantial “philosophy retreat” clientèle. But you never can tell…I will keep it in mind (also as a suggestion for a nice holliday … it looks really beautifull out there). And concerning philosophy you are right, how could you in one way or another not return (same over here with a yet unstarted PhD). Your “What is Analytic Metaphysics For?”still being one of my favorite papers I hope that maybe you can combine lodge & philosophy.

  2. sharon@majestic-events.co.uk

    Dear Heather

    How are things going ? I spoke to you a few months back regarding your desire to run weddings at your beautiful home and the issues that you were having. My business has turned around some old properties that have been struggling to make money and we have worked with these properties to turn things around. When I spoke to you last time you were waiting for news from the council. How are things going ? Are you any nearer ? Do you wish to talk again ? Look forward to hearing from you. Regards Sharon Page

    1. heatherdyke Post author

      Hi Sharon, thanks for getting back in touch. Unbelievably, or perhaps not so unbelievably, we are still waiting for a decision from the Planning Office. We have made some progress though, as we have now satisfied them on all the concerns they had (traffic, noise and parking), so they have no more objections. However, because we have modified our proposals quite a bit since the original application, they now want us to resubmit. I was devastated when I first heard this, as it means the new application will have to be open for another 8 weeks public consultation, so it is all going to drag on well into next year. However, it does mean that we can tighten up our application, and it will properly reflect what we want to do, as our plans have taken shape while all this has been going on. So, we’re not yet able to get started. As soon as we have a decision I will get in touch. All the best, Heather

  3. Mark Yonge

    Dear Heather,
    I am currently writing a book, a chapter of which embraces the Victorian era around Lamberhurst.
    I would appreciate a little of your time in answer to a few questions to help with my research particularly in regard to William Courtenay Moreland.
    Many thanks in anticipation. Mark Yonge Little Isemonger, Tenterden, Kent TN30 6UJ. 01580 763811 or email: markyonge@outlook.com


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