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Inheritance: The Story of Knole and the Sackvilles

3.55  ·  Rating Details ·  173 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Since its purchase in 1604 by Thomas Sackville, first Earl of Dorset, the house at Knole, Kent, has been inhabited by thirteen generations of a single aristocratic family, the Sackvilles. Here, drawing on a wealth of unpublished letters, archives, and images, the current incumbent of the seat, Robert Sackville-West, paints a vivid and intimate portrait of the vast, labyrin ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 31st 2010 by Walker Books (first published May 3rd 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Suzanne Stroh
The biography of a house by the man who lives there today, Robert Sackville-West.

Knole in Kent has been lived in by the Sackvilles since Shakespeare's time. Today it is owned and managed by the National Trust and much-beloved by thousands of visitors a year. For readers making a trip to Knole (a veddy large house), your visit will be more enjoyable after reading this book. Many eccentric characters have wandered the halls, and you will recognize their portraits. Among the more interesting facts
Mar 01, 2013 Ellen rated it it was amazing
I was very surprised at how much I liked this book. Robert Sackville-West has written a history of his ancestors that is filled with details about the periods through which they lived, from the first Thomas Sackville to the present day descendants. There is much from Vita Sackville-West throughout the book, taken from the author's own discussions with her and from her diaries, letters, and notes. The story of the family's home, Knole House, is told in a lively and well-written style, which makes ...more
Lauren Albert
While I don't think that, having finished the book, I could tell you the difference between one Sackville and another, I enjoyed it. It gave me a feel for what it was like both to be nobility during different eras of British history and what life was like in these kind of country estates. I also enjoyed reading about the National Trust and the controversy over their role in the preservation of grand old homes like Knoles.
Jim Kinsey
Jun 30, 2012 Jim Kinsey rated it liked it
I doubt I'd have picked this up were it not for that we visit Knole quite often; reading a history of an aristocratic family and house by the latest in the line would not usually be high on my list. Which would have been a shame, as this is quite interesting.

Some compelling characters have inhabited the grand country house in its time, though two stand out - Lady Anne Clifford, who stood firm in her resolve in the face of the King himself, and Vita Sackville-West, Virgina Woolf's muse who was de
Sep 17, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it
This book was so interesting. After reading some of the Kate Morton fiction books about big English houses with long histories, I wanted to find out some true stories. That's what this is, the true history of a big old house in England with a family that covered 400 years. I also found out that I had another book in my house that had pictures from this ancient house.

This book was well researched by the descendant of the family that still lives at the Knole estate. I hope I can find more books li
Carolyn Powers
May 23, 2014 Carolyn Powers rated it liked it
I loved the histoical account of this home....Although I was surprised I completed this account, at times very detailed about which Duke would inherit the estate next, I could not lay it aside. And did I ever know that the folks who live in these grand estates today more or less rent or own part of the building with the National Trust owning much of the grounds and remainder of the buildings? I have visited a few of these places and was told by the tourist guide that the family occupies one floo ...more
Iñaki Tofiño
Apr 24, 2016 Iñaki Tofiño rated it it was amazing
Don't know why, I'm fascinated by Vita Sackville-West and this fascination includes Knole, her childhood home.
Her book about it, Knole and the Sackvilles, is not exactly her best, so i decided to read something else. Robert Sackville-West does a much better job describing the house, its inhabitants over the centuries and the family feuds and problems that came with it.
Really worth reading. Now I just have to book a flight and go see it!
Peter F
Aug 06, 2013 Peter F rated it liked it
This book is about 400 years of the Sackville (and later the Sackville-West) family and Knole, the house said family inhabited and/or owned for those four centuries. The history presented in the book, of the family, the house, and of England in general, was interesting, though the focus on the family raised a question in my mind.

The Sackville and Sackville-West family has its fair mixture of normal, boring, and eccentric characters. No more so than your average family, I feel. Which brings me to
Margaret Sankey
Jul 23, 2011 Margaret Sankey rated it really liked it
I like this trend of telling the story of an aristocratic family through their great house--in this case the Sackville Dukes of Dorset and Knole, ""the ancient pile"" of Orlando and Vita Sackville-West. However, since Knole rarely passed from father to son (more like brother to much younger brother, or to a distant cousin), the wives, sisters and daughters who did much of the investment in the house constantly suffered an alienation of knowing that they could never stay there permanently. The en ...more
Nov 27, 2010 Emily rated it liked it
Shelves: general-history
To be fair to the author, it must have been far easier to write about the earlier members of his family rather than the ones he knew. When he reached the 20th century, I could feel the tone of the book shift from history to almost psycho-history (along with a good dose of the ghost of Vita Sackville-West). I wish the portraits of the more recent incumbents had been fleshed out a little more, because i got a better sense for the historical ones.

Still and all, a quick, fascinating read. I'm probab
Aug 24, 2012 katie rated it it was amazing
...a race too prodigal, too amorous, too weak, too indolent, and too melancholy; a rotten lot, and nearly all starkstaring mad. I LOVE YOU VITA SACKVILLE-WEST.
This is the delightful tale of the train wreck known as the noble family of Sackville and their home. It is one of the greatest family histories I have ever read. I am currently adding Knole to my list of places to visit.
Renata Holder
Mar 19, 2015 Renata Holder rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
This was very enjoyable. Gosh what a generally miserable and unhappy family. I don't believe they are to be envied.

I found the family tree at the beginning to be invaluable, because following some of the family connections would have been very confusing without it. I have Disinherited on my shelf, looking forward to seeing the story of some of the have nots.
Sep 09, 2011 Kerry rated it liked it
interesting. had to keep checking the family tree to follow who and what, given the trail of inheritance at times. i had envisioned knole differently given vita sackville-west's descriptions in another book, for some reason, and wished there were many more photographs to illustrate.
Julie Hunt
Sep 14, 2011 Julie Hunt rated it really liked it
A recommendation from an article in Tatler - I got more and more interested in the history of Knole as I continued reading - has left me wanting to visit and have just downloaded Orlando by Virginia Woolf to read!
I always enjoy learning history through a specific area or situation, and watching life unfold through the house of Knole fits this perfectly. This is a bit dry, but suitably so, it is after all, a history and not a novel.
Diane C.
May 07, 2011 Diane C. rated it liked it

This book was bit dry, although well and lovingly researched by the current Sackville heir living at Knole. Still, glad he wrote it. Knole and the Sackvilles are endlessly fascinating, a HUGE part of British history.

Lots of paintings and photos of the Sackvilles as well.
Elsbeth Kwant
A well-written account of a privileged family. The Sackvilles are good at documenting and framing their own history. The story of inheritance and disinheritance is perceptively and poignantly written by a family member.
Jan 14, 2014 Voirrey rated it really liked it
I found this telling of the history of the family through the history of the house they inherited fascinating, especially as there were areas of overlap with 'Almina' and 'The Secret Rooms', both of which I have read recently.

Sep 23, 2013 Leslie rated it it was ok
An excellent history of the Sackville family and their country seat, Knole, written by the current Baron Sackville. Obviously well-researched and with a evenhandedness that is often missing as people focus on Vita Sackville-West and her life at Knole.
May 10, 2014 Jbondandrews rated it liked it
It was a realisably good book about the Sackvilles, though there could have been more about the family itself.
Nov 24, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: brit-lit, nonfiction

Not the best of the country house biographies ( there have been so many of late) but still readable if you're interested in the subject.
Karen Mace
Aug 07, 2014 Karen Mace rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite places to vist - Knole - is bought to life in this book and i loved every minute of reading it!
Feb 18, 2012 Jennybeast rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, biography
An interestign biography of a house. Not riveting, but delightful to have an insider's perspective on the progression of these houses through their noble family lines.
Kentishbookworm rated it liked it
Aug 03, 2011
Linda Straub
Linda Straub rated it liked it
Aug 11, 2014
Amy rated it really liked it
Nov 11, 2013
Liz Fenwick
Feb 13, 2013 Liz Fenwick rated it liked it
It was a good book to dip and out of...well written
Shiobhan Bradbury
Shiobhan Bradbury rated it really liked it
Jan 27, 2013
Joe rated it really liked it
Jul 27, 2011
Kati Polodna
Kati Polodna rated it liked it
Jul 22, 2011
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