About Oakwood House
Oakwood House, a grand Victorian mansion, is located just off the Tonbridge Road in Maidstone, Kent. The House is easily accessible from London via the M25, M2 and M20 and is within easy reach of the Channel Tunnel and the South Coast.
A first-class venue for accommodation, conferences, functions, weddings and events, Oakwood House offers a dramatic fusion of modern and traditional styles suitable for every occasion.
The Victorian mansion's deep-rooted history is clear for all to see, combining classical architecture and period features together with a sense of contemporary living throughout the interior of the building. It is conveniently located, being easily accessed from main transport routes - quite simply, a fitting venue for all events or occasions.
The History of Oakwood House
Oakwood House was built around 1869. An Abstract of Title included among the Deeds of Property reveals that a mortgage, dated 30th September 1868, was acquired by Lewis Davis Wigan who was a partner in The Kentish Bank in Bank Street, Maidstone.
The Wigan family had both a Banking and Hop Merchant background. John Alfred Wigan lived at Clare House in East Malling. He had a large family of fifteen children, including William Lewis Wigan, who was Vicar of East Malling for 28 years and Lewis Davis Wigan who built Oakwood House.
By the time of the 1871 Census, Lewis and Mary Wigan together with their five surviving children (one child had died prior to the move), were in residence at their new home at Oakwood Park. Their youngest child Mary (known as May) was born at Oakwood on 10th January 1876.
Lewis Wigan died on 21st February 1886 and his widow Mary continued to live in the house until her death on 1st January 1900, after which the property passed to their eldest son John Alfred Graham-Wigan.
John Graham-Wigan was appointed a Justice of the Peace (JP) in 1905 and it was soon after this that he extended the house. The original plans can be viewed at Oakwood today.
The parkland itself also proved of some benefit to the town, with an Indenture dated 31 December 1913, that granted rights to Maidstone Golf Club to use the land as a golf course. Evidence also suggests that during the Second World War the military occupied part of the parkland although not the house itself.
John Graham-Wigan died on 21st January 1948, just one week short of his 88th birthday and Oakwood Park was purchased from his estate by Kent County Council in October of that year.
Among the deeds is an inventory of the property, taken prior to the purchase, which show John had retained the character of his home, as it had been in its hey-day, with very few modern intrusions. From this record it can be seen that it had been a residence of some standing, having 17 bedrooms, servant’s quarters, stabling and all of the facilities required by a successful family of the late Victorian and Edwardian era.
The Wigan Carriages
Four of the original family carriages are currently part of the Tyrwhitt-Drake Collection in the Carriage Museum located in the old Archbishops Stables in Maidstone. The Museum, open during the summer months, is well worth a visit. The collection of carriages is one of the finest in Europe.
All four carriages were donated to the Museum by the family and have the Wigan livery of black and brown with red wheels and two thin black coach lines. Three include a small family crest on the doors.
The Wigan carriages were all custom built for the family by the finest coachbuilders of the time and are in the same original condition as when they were last used.