The estate derives its name from the well to the north of the house called ‘Chart Well’. ‘Chart’ is an Old English word for rough ground. The highest point of the estate is approximately 650 feet above sea level, and the house commands a spectacular view across the Weald of Kent. This view ‘possessed Churchill’ and was certainly an important factor in persuading him to buy a house of ‘no great architectural merit’.
Churchill employed architect Philip Tilden to modernise and extend the house. Tilden worked between 1922 and 1924, simplifying and modernising, as well as allowing more light into the house through large casement windows. He worked in the gently vernacular architecture tradition that is familiar in the early houses of Edwin Lutyens, a style stripped of literal Tudor Revival historicising details but retaining multiple gables with stepped gable ends, and windows in strips set in expanses of warm pink brick hung with climbers. Tilden’s work completely transformed the house.
Similarly to many early 20th century refurbishments of old estates, the immediate grounds, which fall away behind the house, were shaped into overlapping rectilinear terraces and garden plats, in lawn and mixed herbaceous gardens in the Lutyens-Jekyll manner, linked by steps descending to lakes that Churchill created by a series of little dams, the water garden where he fed his fish, Lady Churchill’s Rose garden and the Golden Rose Walk, a Golden marriage anniversary gift from their children. The garden areas provided inspiration for Churchill’s paintings, many of which are on display in the house’s garden studio.