The im­pos­ing home of a Kent hop-farm­ing fam­ily is on the mar­ket for only the sec­ond time in its 300-year his­tory. Helen opened the huge wooden front door to take a peep

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - East Kent Property - - Gardening -

In the bil­liard room of Nash Court, a bored Sec­ond World War sol­dier leant on the stone mantle­piece and en­graved a lit­tle pic­ture of a run­ning horse. To­day, with the house new on the mar­ket, this sou­venir, from the years when the house was req­ui­si­tioned by the Army, is just part of the pack­age of his­tory. Driv­ing to early-Ge­or­gian Nash Court at Boughton-un­derBlean, near Faver­sham, the per­fectly sym­met­ri­cal red-brick frontage sud­denly looms from a hill on the right. There’s a crunch from the cir­cu­lar gravel drive­way and so much room to park that oddly, I can’t de­cide where to leave the car. A pil­lared en­trance and a grandiose wooden door, which must be nearly four feet across, lead into an im­pres­sive en­trance hall, com­plete with worn mar­ble tiled floor, wit­ness to the com­ings and go­ings of count­less vis­i­tors. A 20ft high arched win­dow on the stairs bears the leg­end “Avi Numer­an­tur Avo­rum”. This motto roughly trans­lates as the un­der­stated: “I fol­low a long line of an­ces­tors”. It is un­der­stood to be that of the Nor­ton fam­ily, who mar­ried into the Catholic Hawkins fam­ily, known to be own­ers of the house in 1715. There’s an enor­mous and an­cient elec­tric chan­de­lier, that must date from the 1920s, and ahead of me, at the foot of the stairs, there is a grand and in­trigu­ing plinth in a square cage, with heavy carved lions at each corner. Peep­ing in­side I’m sur­prised to find noth­ing more ex­otic than a se­ries of thick old cast iron radiators, pre­sum­ably from the days when radiators were some­thing to be cel­e­brated and dressed up, rather than hid­den away un­der a win­dow. Cur­rent own­ers the Red­sell fam­ily, the well-known lo­cal farm­ing fam­ily which moved into Nash Court just af­ter the war, hosted meet­ings of the Faver­sham Farm­ers’ Club here, in­clud­ing rev­elry to mark the Queen’s Ju­bilee in 1977. Now the sale has come about fol­low­ing the death of widow Mar­garet Red­sell, four years ago, in her 90s. Nash Court is not a care­ful­lyren­o­vated kind of old. This is prop­erly old, jaw-drop­pingly and mem­o­rably orig­i­nal. It is also so huge, you could eas­ily get lost. And it has been loved. From the 37ft ball­room, with win­dows to three sides and orig­i­nal well­worn wooden floors be­neath the rugs, to the smaller sit­ting room, to the li­brary and farm of­fice with me­men­toes of hop­grow­ing suc­cesses of the past, the scents and sounds of busy lives past, still hang in the air. The ceil­ings in the main rooms are in­tri­cate moulded coloured plas­ter, re­stored in the mid­dle of the last cen­tury. The es­tate agent’s par­tic­u­lars say that Nash Court needs some up­dat­ing and mod­erni­sa­tion, which is true. But it is beau­ti­fully clean, with not a cob­web in sight. With nine bed­rooms to get around and three bath­rooms, a lot of el­bow grease has been used over the years. On the sec­ond floor, used for stor­age in re­cent years, are the be­gin­nings of a fur­ther seven bed­rooms, should any­one fancy set­ting up a coun­try house ho­tel with good links to the M2. There is a four-bed­room an­nexe and two flats, which could be in­cor­po­rated into the main house, or kept as more than ad­e­quate sep­a­rate dwellings. In the beau­ti­fully-kept gar­dens, peren­ni­als, shrubs and trees lead to­wards a large brick­walled kitchen gar­den, at present laid to grass and hedges. A full-sized de­tached old-fash­ioned or­angery could be ren­o­vated to make a beau­ti­ful sum­mer party or wed­ding venue. Nearby, a fenced-off out­door pool and an over­grown ten­nis court are ready for a new lease of life. Ed­ward Church, of Strutt & Parker, said: “I be­lieve that the whole es­tate is likely to sell as a whole, as buy­ers like to con­trol their im­me­di­ate en­vi­ron­ment. “The house is very grand, yet homely, and for this rea­son I be­lieve that it will sell as a fam­ily home. How­ever, a buyer may well have a busi­ness in­ter­est of some kind that they might wish to run from home. The gen­er­ous space in the house would suit an ex­tended fam­ily. “Houses with this rare bal­ance of ex­cel­lent en­ter­tain­ing space and a fam­ily feel are gen­uinely rare, as many sim­i­lar houses can feel over­whelm­ing in their stature. “The typ­i­cally Ken­tish views are a spe­cial at­trac­tion, and the con­ve­nient ac­cess to London, Europe and the su­perb lo­cal schools will be added at­trac­tions. Nash Court has only been of­fered for sale twice in the last 300 years.”

Nash Court, near Faver­sham, which Strutt & Parker have just put on the mar­ket – ‘very grand, yet homely’

The view from the top

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