“...in Sevenoaks, Kent”

Chevening House - Current use


The Chevening Estate Act of 1959 (amended in 1987) passed the rights and responsibilities of ownership of the house and estate to a Board of Trustees. On the death of the 7th Earl in 1967 the house was in a parlous condition and the Trustees carried out substantial repairs to the main block. They removed the 3rd Earl’s attic storey and mathematical tiles. The external red brickwork was reinstated and a new roof, constructed to the design of Donald Insall Associates in the style of its 17th century predecessor, received a special award in the European Architectural Heritage Year 1975.

Management is the responsibility of the Trustees, whose members include the Lord Privy Seal, the Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, two persons appointed by the Prime Minister, one by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and a small number of locally co-opted Trustees. All costs of the house and estate are met from the Trust’s own resources arising from Lord Stanhope’s bequest.

Under the terms of the Act the Prime Minister has the responsibility of nominating a person to occupy the house privately as a furnished country residence. This person can be the Prime Minister, a minister who is a member of the Cabinet, a lineal descendant of King George VI or the spouse, widow or widower of such a descendant. The Canadian High Commissioner, the American Ambassador and the National Trust all have remainder interests in Chevening in the unlikely event that none of the others requires the house.

The persons so nominated have been:

The Rt Hon Anthony Barber 1973
The Rt Hon The Lord Hailsham 1973-74
HRH The Prince of Wales 1974-80
The Rt Hon The Lord Carrington 1981-82
The Rt Hon Francis Pym 1982-83
The Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Howe 1983-89
The Rt Hon John Major 1989
The Rt Hon Douglas Hurd 1989-95
The Rt Hon Malcolm Rifkind 1995-97
The Rt Hon Robin Cook 1997-2001
The Rt Hon Jack Straw 2001-06
The Rt Hon Margaret Beckett 2006-07
The Rt Hon David Miliband 2007-10
The Rt Hon William Hague 2010-14
The Rt Hon Nick Clegg 2010-15
The Rt Hon Philip Hammond 2014-16
The Rt Hon Boris Johnson 2016-18
The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt 2018-

Current Use Of Chevening House

The present Nominated Person is the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. Under special arrangements with the Board of Trustees the house is also available to the Secretary of State for International Trade and the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. The Nominated Person has agreed to a request from the Trustees that the house may be used for conferences, especially by other Government Departments, when circumstances permit. Such use provides the Trust with a modest income and ensures that full use is made of the available facilities.

The house is opened a very limited number of times each year to local historical groups, other interest groups and Chevening Primary School.

In addition to an equally limited number of guided garden tours, the gardens are opened up to three times a year in support of local charities.

Chevening House, Sevenoaks in Kent.