Prop­erty Mar­ket

These three his­toric vil­lage prop­er­ties are still at the heart of lo­cal life

Country Life Every Week - - Contents -

Penny Churchill finds his­toric houses at the cen­tre of things

HIS­TOR­I­CALLY, as the of­fi­cial res­i­dence of a se­nior church­man who was of­ten wealthy in his own right, the vil­lage rec­tory en­joyed a sta­tus sec­ond only to that of the manor house, with which it was usu­ally linked. Small won­der, then, that the finest old rec­to­ries, in­vari­ably built on en­vi­able sites close to the church at the heart of the vil­lage, were snapped up by as­tute buy­ers when, in the 20th cen­tury, the Church found that it could no longer af­ford the up­keep of such grand houses.

One of Hert­ford­shire’s hid­den gems is el­e­gant, 17th-cen­tury The Old Rec­tory at Hert­ing­ford­bury (Fig 1), a small vil­lage lo­cated just over a mile from the county town of Hert­ford and 22 miles from cen­tral Lon­don. Re­cently launched on the mar­ket through Sav­ills (01279 756800) at a guide price of £3.5 mil­lion, the sub­stan­tial for­mer rec­tory stands within a glo­ri­ous park­land set­ting, with land­scaped gar­dens lead­ing down to the banks of the River Mim­ram. Some ex­perts main­tain that the his­toric

‘Rec­to­ries were snapped up by as­tute 20th-cen­tury buy­ers’

park­land may have ben­e­fited from plant­ing un­der­taken by Humphry Rep­ton on the nearby Pan­shanger es­tate in the 1790s. Cer­tainly, the an­cient beech trees be­side the river have been at­trib­uted to Rep­ton.

Ac­cord­ing to the Vic­to­ria County History, the house was orig­i­nally built in 1638, when Ed­ward Baynes was Rec­tor of St Mary’s, at about the time that Thomas Keight­ley was build­ing at Hert­ing­ford­bury Park. Baynes was a cul­ti­vated man, who was ev­i­dently in­flu­enced by the fash­ion of of the day for gen­try houses with an im­pos­ing main façade, good ceil­ing heights and Clas­si­cal pro­por­tions. The rec­tory also boasted a milk­house, a brew­house, a mill­house and a but­tery, yet was never oc­cu­pied by the rec­tor, who con­tin­ued to live in a modest house in the vil­lage and his grand new house was let to wealthy Lon­don mer­chants.

The early 18th to mid 19th cen­turies saw the liv­ings in the Church reach the height of their de­sir­abil­ity, with the clergy en­joy­ing sig­nif­i­cant sta­tus in so­ci­ety. This was re­flected in the style of their houses, which, in the early 18th cen­tury, saw The Old Rec­tory ex­tended to the north, and the rooms at the western end of the house en­larged to pro­vide grander re­cep­tion rooms and a bed­room with an ad­join­ing ser­vant’s room.

In 1801, Dr James Hook was ap­pointed chap­lain to the Prince Re­gent, later Ge­orge IV, and shortly af­ter­wards took on the liv­ing of Hert­ing­ford­bury in ad­di­tion to his role as Rec­tor of Sadding­ton in Le­ices­ter­shire. Known, as were many of his cler­i­cal col­leagues, for be­ing ‘more re­mark­able for the num­ber of his benefices than for the work he did in any of them’, Dr Hook had The Old Rec­tory re-fronted in brick and the en­trance moved to the east, which al­lowed him to see par­ish­ioners with­out en­croach­ing on his per­sonal liv­ing space.

The next ma­jor mile­stone in the build­ing’s history was the sale of The Old Rec­tory by the Church in 1929. By then in poor re­pair, it was bought by Robert Ad­dis, who set up his tooth­brush fac­tory in Hert­ford af­ter the First World War. He car­ried out a ma­jor ren­o­va­tion, in­stalling a new oak stair­case and pan­elling re­cov­ered from nearby Essendon Place, which, along with the pol­ished par­quet floors, are a strik­ing fea­ture of the house to­day.

Req­ui­si­tioned by the Army dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, the last 60 years have seen The Old Rec­tory, listed Grade II, cher­ished by suc­ces­sive pri­vate own­ers and its four acres of grounds en­hanced by a ju­di­cious plant­ing pro­gramme. It of­fers 6,730sq ft of liv­ing space on three floors, with ac­com­mo­da­tion in­clud­ing four re­cep­tion rooms, a kitchen/break­fast room, an or­angery, a mas­ter suite, four dou­ble bed­rooms and two bath/ shower rooms on the first floor and a fur­ther dou­ble bed­room on the sec­ond.

It’s a fu­sion of dif­fer­ent pe­ri­ods and styles

For sale for the first time in 30 years—at a guide price of £2.6m through the Chich­ester of­fice of Jack­son-stops & Staff (01243 786316)—the en­chant­ing Grade Ii-listed Comp­ton House (Fig 2) is the prin­ci­pal house in the an­cient down­land vil­lage of Comp­ton, near Up­park, in the South Downs Na­tional Park AONB. A rare find in an area dom­i­nated by ma­jor es­tates such as Good­wood and Cow­dray Park, Comp­ton House was re­mod­elled in the Re­gency pe­riod and home in the late 19th cen­tury to the wealthy Rev Ge­orge Au­gus­tus Lang­dale, who was vicar of the par­ish from 1854 to 1897.

Dis­creetly lo­cated within more than an acre of pri­vate walled gar­dens near the cen­tre of this pop­u­lar vil­lage, eight miles from the com­muter hub of Peters­field and 10 miles from Chich­ester, Comp­ton House has been care­fully main­tained dur­ing the ten­ure of its pre­sent own­ers. Ac­com­mo­da­tion on three floors in­cludes three beau­ti­fully pro­por­tioned re­cep­tion rooms, a study, a farm­house kitchen, seven/eight bed­rooms in­clud­ing mas­ter and guest suites, five/six fur­ther bed­rooms and three bath/shower rooms.

Out­build­ings in­clude a for­mer coach house, sta­bling and groom’s quar­ters, suit­able for con­ver­sion to a range of uses, sub­ject to plan­ning con­sent. Well-main­tained for­mal gar­dens in­clude a walled, per­gola-cov­ered ter­race, a man­age­able kitchen gar­den and a walled or­na­men­tal gar­den with a 35ft­long green­house.

The ear­li­est sur­viv­ing houses in the vil­lage of Sprat­ton, eight miles north of Northampton, are stone-built farm­houses dat­ing from the 17th cen­tury and the con­verted stone barns at­tached to pretty Cot­field House (Fig 3), which stands along­side St An­drew’s Church at the heart of the vil­lage, are said to date from that pe­riod.

The rear part of the house dates from about 1830, when a few wealthy landown­ers were build­ing larger, of­ten three-storey houses in that part of the vil­lage. The front of the house, how­ever, has a Vic­to­rian stone façade with a date-stone in­di­cat­ing 1897. As the house is unlisted, there ap­pears to be no record of who re­mod­elled it in its cur­rent form, but given its po­si­tion, a Church con­nec­tion seems pos­si­ble.

Ap­proached through wooden gates and bounded by high stone walls, Cot­field House is hugely pri­vate and within walk­ing dis­tance of Sprat­ton Hall, one of the re­gion’s most pop­u­lar day prep schools, de­scribed as ‘ex­tra­or­di­nary’ in the in­flu­en­tial Good Schools Guide.

For sale through the Mar­ket Har­bor­ough of­fice of Strutt & Parker (01858 433123) at a guide price of £1.675m, Cot­field House has 6,419sq ft of well-ar­ranged fam­ily liv­ing space, in­clud­ing three main re­cep­tion rooms, a snug, a kitchen/break­fast room, six/seven bed­rooms and four bath/ shower rooms.

‘Like so many pe­riod vil­lage houses, Cot­field House is a fu­sion of sev­eral dif­fer­ent pe­ri­ods and styles and, although this might sug­gest an in­con­sis­tent “feel” in­side, in prac­tice, the com­bi­na­tion of some strik­ing prin­ci­pal rooms to the front of the house with smaller, but equally use­able ev­ery­day fam­ily space to the rear, rep­re­sents the best of both worlds,’ en­thuses sell­ing agent Ed­ward Brassey.

Fig 1 top and above: El­e­gant The Old Rec­tory stands in a glo­ri­ous park­land set­ting in the vil­lage of Hert­ing­ford­bury in Hert­ford­shire. £3.5m

Fig 2 top and above: Lo­cated within more than an acre of pri­vate walled gar­dens, Comp­ton House is at the cen­tre of Comp­ton in West Sus­sex. £2.6m

Fig 3: Hugely pri­vate Cot­field House is in the cen­tre of Sprat­ton vil­lage in Northamp­ton­shire and close to lo­cal schools. £1.675m

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.