Prop­erty Mar­ket

The own­ers of these two his­toric prop­er­ties feel it’s time to hand them on to the next gen­er­a­tion of cus­to­di­ans

Country Life Every Week - - Contents - Penny Churchill

IN A Book of Houses (1890), the em­i­nent Vic­to­rian ar­chi­tect Ernest New­ton de­fines the essence of what COUN­TRY LIFE might mod­estly re­fer to as a ‘smaller coun­try house’, but which most peo­ple to­day would call ‘a good-sized, man­age­able coun­try home’. ‘A small house,’ New­ton main­tains, ‘is in many ways more dif­fi­cult to de­sign than a large one, for while ev­ery part must be minutely schemed, noth­ing should be cramped or mean look­ing, the whole house should be con­ceived broadly and sim­ply, and with an air of re­pose, the stamp of home.’

Two out­stand­ing his­toric houses, both listed Grade II*, that ex­ude that har­mony of de­sign, re­laxed am­bi­ence and en­vi­able ‘stamp of home’, are Ec­cles­den Manor, near Ang­mer­ing, West Sus­sex—for sale through Sav­ills (020–7409 8869) at a guide price of £2.95 mil­lion—and Church Farm House at Bar­ton Stacey, Hamp­shire, for which Knight Frank (01962 850333) quote a guide price of £2.15m.

Trail­ing clouds of happy mem­o­ries for its owner, Sue Hol­land, whose fam­ily home it’s been for 25 years, Ec­cles­den Manor stands in some 10 acres of land­scaped gar­dens, lakes and light wood­land, a mile east of the an­cient vil­lage of Ang­mer­ing, on the south­ern boundary of the South Downs Na­tional Park. First recorded in 1324, and still the most im­pos­ing build­ing sur­viv­ing in the Ang­mer­ing area, the manor is de­scribed in Pevs­ner as ‘a long, low, com­fort­able, Tu­dor­look­ing build­ing; it takes a keen eye to spot the tiny 17th cen­tury touches’.

Although its 1954 list­ing claims that the house was built by John Forster in 1634, re­cent re­search sug­gests that it was more likely the work of three gen­er­a­tions of the Baker fam­ily, who were landown­ers and farm­ers in these parts be­fore 1590. In 1751, the farm­house, built of brick and knapped flint, com­prised the kitchen, hall and par­lour on the ground floor, with three main bed­rooms above and ser­vants’ rooms on the at­tic floor. A pho­to­graph from 1910 shows the house look­ing much as it does to­day, hav­ing been ex­tended to the east in the 1870s, when the ac­com­mo­da­tion ap­par­ently in­cluded four re­cep­tion rooms, seven prin­ci­pal bed­rooms, eight sec­ondary bed­rooms and a bil­liard room.

By the early 1900s, the manor had been sep­a­rated from the farm­land and was let to ‘gen­try’, un­til, in 1912, the en­tire es­tate was bought by Wal­ter Butcher who, ac­cord­ing to Ang­mer­ing his­to­rian Fran­cis Skeet, ‘with great care and taste re­stored the an­cient ed­i­fice to its former wor­thi­ness, as an early sev­en­teenth cen­tury manor house’.

Pre­cisely what changes Butcher made to the house are un­clear, but to­day’s ac­com­mo­da­tion in­cludes all the im­por­tant 17th­cen­tury rooms, among them the en­trance hall, the me­dieval screens pas­sage, the draw­ing room/oak Room, the li­brary and the din­ing room, to­gether with more re­cent ad­di­tions, such as the gar­den room and the kitchen—‘although it took me 15 years to per­suade my hus­band to in­stall a new one,’ Mrs Hol­land says.

There are four main bed­rooms, a dress­ing room and three bath­rooms on the first floor and the at­tic rooms on the sec­ond floor have po­ten­tial for con­ver­sion to five bed­rooms or a self-con­tained three-bed­room flat.

Mrs Hol­land re­calls the en­thu­si­asm with which she and her late hus­band em­barked on the ren­o­va­tion of the house and grounds fol­low­ing their ar­rival in 1992: ‘First of all, we re­built the en­tire roof, which I’m told is now good for an­other 100 years. Then, we re­did the wiring and re­dec­o­rated the whole house, es­pe­cially the Oak Room and the din­ing room. At the same time, we called in gar­den de­signer John Brookes, whom we knew well, to re­design the gar­den with ease of main­te­nance a pri­or­ity. As a re­sult, I can man­age the gar­den on my own —some­thing I thor­oughly en­joy.’

She con­tin­ues: ‘I’ve al­ways en­joyed en­ter­tain­ing and the house lends it­self equally well to do­ing that on both a large and a small scale. How­ever, in the end, own­ers of his­toric houses are only cus­to­di­ans for a time—ec­cles­den Manor has been a won­der­ful fam­ily house and it now needs a fam­ily again.’

Across the county bor­der in Hamp­shire, the Bourne fam­ily have been cus­to­di­ans of hand­some Church Farm House at Bar­ton Stacey, a pretty vil­lage on the River Dever, 8½ miles north of Winch­ester, since 1933, when the present in­cum­bent’s grand­fa­ther bought the house through Knight Frank on his re­tire­ment as head­mas­ter of Hai­ley­bury. ‘It cost him a year’s salary to buy it,’ the present owner, Jeremy Bourne, re­veals.

Mr Bourne’s father was killed in the Sec­ond World War, hav­ing re­turned from the West Indies to join the RAF at the age of 17. Although he sur­vived be­ing shot down in a Spit­fire, he later lost his life when his Gloster Me­teor was brought down. In 1966, fol­low­ing his grand­mother’s death, Mr Bourne’s mother bought Church Farm House from the rest of the fam­ily and com­pletely re­fur­bished it.

In 1973, the pretty, 19th-cen­tury coach house was con­verted into two sep­a­rate units, af­ter which the prop­erty was run as a suc­cess­ful Wolsey Lodge.

Ac­cord­ing to lo­cal records, the par­ish of Bar­ton Stacey takes its name from the Saxon pe­riod, when it was a Royal Manor of Ed­ward the Con­fes­sor. Church Farm House is the old­est house in the vil­lage and the heart of the com­mu­nity, with the an­nual fête lur­ing vis­i­tors along the an­cient mile­long track lead­ing from the vil­lage.

The old­est part of the prop­erty it­self is said to be one of the ear­li­est ‘flat pack houses’ built at Buck­lers Hard on the Beaulieu River from old ships’ tim­bers and car­ried by ox cart to Bar­ton Stacey, where it was as­sem­bled.

The house is im­pres­sively tim­ber-framed, with brick, stone and flint walls un­der

a tiled roof, the old part com­pris­ing the mas­sive, two-storeyed late-me­dieval frame, thought to date from the 15th cen­tury. The present build­ing in­cludes late-18th-cen­tury ad­di­tions and al­ter­ations and mi­nor ad­di­tions from the early and late 1900s.

Also listed is the road­side gar­den wall of plas­tered cob with a thatched cap­ping, although thatched cot­tages be­came a thing of the past in Bar­ton Stacey vil­lage it­self when, in 1792, a spark from the forge started a ma­jor fire that de­stroyed many of the houses.

Church Farm House was part of Robert Kirk­man Hodgson’s Gavelacre es­tate in 1911, when the house and its ad­join­ing Marsh’s Meadow were sold away from the es­tate; the rest was sold by his widow to the Wills fam­ily in 1924. Lit­tle al­tered since 1966 and now in need of ren­o­va­tion, the main house has 3,748sq ft of liv­ing space, in­clud­ing an en­trance hall, three re­cep­tion rooms, a kitchen/break­fast room, a master bed­room and bath­room, four fur­ther bed­rooms and a fam­ily bath­room.

In ad­di­tion to the coach house, there is a 1,778sq ft, two-bed­room cot­tage, plus sta­bles and stores with ob­vi­ous devel­op­ment po­ten­tial. The grounds, 6¼ acres in all, in­clude a swim­ming pool, gar­dens laid mainly to lawn, an or­chard, a stream and a copse, plus that most pre­cious of com­modi­ties in this part of the world: the large paddock for­merly known as Marsh’s Meadow.

Ec­cles­den Manor, near Ang­mer­ing, West Sus­sex, stands in 10 acres of land­scaped gar­dens, lakes and wood­land. £2.95m

The present own­ers have brought the ne­glected house back to vi­brant and com­fort­able new life since their ar­rival in 1992

The spa­cious din­ing room is one of Ec­cles­den’s well-pre­served 17th-cen­tury in­te­ri­ors

The two-storeyed frame of Church Farm House at Bar­ton Stacey, Hamp­shire, is thought to date from the 15th cen­tury. £2.15m

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.