Kew Farm & the Dutch House
In the early 16th century, the land between Kew Green and the Thames
was laid out in a regular series of plots, with a house on each.
In the following decades, more royal courtiers settled in the area.
The complexity and ferocity of Tudor politics being what they were,
many of the previously fairly uniform plots were merged into larger,
less equal, landholdings.
By 1558 all the free land between the modern Brentford Gate and
the future site of the Dutch House was held by just one man, Sir
Robert Dudley. The many small houses were neglected and destroyed,
leaving only one large house on the estate. This was named Kew Farm.
A similar process took place on the land to the east, and by the
early 17th century two houses dominated this strip of land, dividing
the land between them. On one of these plots, Samuel Fortrey, the
merchant son of Flemish émigrés, built a Thames-side
villa in 1631. This was the Dutch House, distinguished by the use
of carved brickwork for all of its architectural decoration, most
notably the superimposed tower of the Orders above the entrance.
With its distinctive Flemish bond brickwork and rounded gables,
the Dutch House is the oldest building remaining in the Gardens
and is now known as Kew Palace.
The ownership history of the plot east of the Dutch House, where
the Herbarium now is, is not clear, but the 1730 map shows that
by then, it was owned by the St Andrés, and was part of the
Kew Park estate.
Back to: 16th
& 17th Centuries: Royal Influences