Myths and Legends
In addition to the colourful but true tales about Badsell Manor, other stories are less plausible. On one subject everyone agrees – there are no ghosts! Despite the number of people who must have died in the house over the years, there are no bumps, apparitions, or headless knights.
One popular myth is that the house used to run around all sides of the moat platform. This is most unlikely as the area covers half an acre. Indeed it was not conventional to build all the way around the edges of a moat – that is a misconception that has grown up from images of moated castles and fortified houses with much smaller moat platforms. The area inside the moat at Badsell is not unusually large as platforms were commonly constructed to accommodate out-buildings and livestock. Was the house larger in times gone by? Whilst it is quite possible, there is no documentary or physical evidence to support this idea. It has been suggested that the house stretched further along the south-westerly side of the moat and it certainly does seem strange that the building is huddled in one corner, however the chimney stacks on the western part of the property were clearly erected as external stacks and are one of the oldest parts of the building, rather destroying any theory that the manor used to extend beyond this point. Why is the house set in one corner? Perhaps it has something to do with the fresh water coming in from the leat at this point, we will probably never know.
Tied in with the story that the manor used to extend further round the edges of the moat is a rumour that there was a tower at the south western corner. Whilst this could be true, there is again no documentary evidence of this and there is no evidence of old foundations.
One of the more outrageous stories is that there used to be a tunnel linking Badsell Manor with Tudeley church. Not only would this have had to have been over three miles long and under marshy ground but it is difficult to see why anyone would want such a passage. It is probably safe to assume that this idea is a figment of someone’s imagination.
One rumour that has actually found its place in print is a story that Queen Anne stayed at the house in 1698, travelling daily to take the waters in Tunbridge Wells. Although this is recorded in the Tunbridge Wells Town index, the authors have been unable to supply any authority for the quotation and one suspects that it unlikely to be true.
lxvi. History of Tunbridge Wells – www.townindex.info/sites/tunbridgewells/history/history02.html