This charming arts and crafts house is situated in the parish of Kingston, on the edge of the bustling town of Lewes. Offering the best of town and country, and situated within the South Downs National Park, it enjoys commanding views of the Downs. The main house unfolds across three storeys with airy, light-filled spaces throughout. Built around 1903, the house retains many of its original features. Internally, it extends to over 3,000 sq ft and has been sensitively reimagined, celebrating its historic charm, yet with many modern ecological interventions. A separate stable conversion offers a further 2,000 sq ft of space, with workshops and a garage on the ground floor; a self-contained three-bedroom apartment above. Situated on a generous southwest-facing plot, there is a private drive and ample parking. The house enjoys bucolic views from the expansive front lawn.
Setting the Scene
The house’s grand exterior elevation encompasses views of the surrounding fields and the South Downs beyond. Built in the arts and crafts style, the handsome double-fronted façade features a pair of two-storey bay windows with fish-scaled gable friezes and decorative finials. The sash windows throughout have been painstakingly refurbished by the current owners during a thorough and sympathetic renovation completed in 2012. A wide approach and double front doors accent the façade, and a mature rose interlaces the bay windows bursting into bloom with a wonderful scent in the warmer months.
During the renovation, many works were undertaken, including a new roof with solar panel providing hot water and a heat exchange ventilation system to increase the eco-credentials of the home. For more information, please see the History section.
The Grand Tour
Entrance is at the house’s spacious and wide-set double front doors; a further transom window above floods the hall with light. The original glazed panelled doors lead into an open space comprising a living room, dining room and kitchen. The living area is at the front of the plan, with a southwest facing bay window letting in swathes of light and framing verdant views of the garden. A side door leads from here to a charming, west-facing patio. The spacious dining area and kitchen lie adjacent, connecting seamlessly and allowing for a modern way of living. Smallbone of Devizes cabinetry is used throughout the kitchen; a backdoor leads from here onto a sheltered exterior patio.
Half-height, built-in bookshelves demarcate the spaces without detracting from the airiness of the ground floor. Entry to a further cosy sitting room is through double half-glazed French doors with an interior transom window. This room has a wood-burner set into the original fire breast. A further separate snug, a side entrance, a porch, a boot room and a WC are set at the rear of the plan. Walls and plasterwork throughout the house are washed in neutral tones, which blend harmoniously from room to room.
The first floor is home to three bedrooms, a study and a laundry room all neatly positioned around a spacious landing. One bedroom is en suite and has a dressing room; there is also a large main bathroom. All three bedrooms are incredibly light, and the two bedrooms and at the front of the plan feature bay windows with breathtaking views. The cleverly conceived first floor laundry room is the perfect complement to a bustling family home. The top floor has two further spacious bedrooms and an additional bathroom. Set in the roof’s pitch, several Velux windows allow an excellent quality of light to flow through the rooms.
At the rear of the main house is a separate detached dwelling on the site of the former stables. A large two-storey annexe with ample workshop spaces, it has a garage on the ground floor and separate living space on the first. Extending to around 1,000 sq ft, the self-contained apartment comprises two en suite bedrooms and a further third bedroom and WC. An open-plan kitchen and living room area complete this useful and versatile space. A private patio provides access to a lovely area for outdoor dining.
The Great Outdoors
The southwest-facing garden comprises an expansive lawn with herbaceous borders and mature shrubs. Planted for year-round interest, flowering shrubs sit as a backdrop to the surrounding hills. Tree canopies and mixed hedges enclose the space, creating a private and verdant haven. A climbing rose trails across the front of the house; a patio to the west is perfect for alfresco dining.
A rear porch runs along the entire length of the back of the main house providing a covered area with a cleverly conceived outdoor butler’s sink plumbed with warm water ideal for muddy dogs. Easily accessed from the kitchen door, it is the ideal space to keep a barbecue for the keen outdoor cook to use in all weather. The annexe enjoys a private patio garden and garage space. Both houses benefit from a large paved parking areas.
Out and About
The house is opposite the scenic Stanley Turner Ground playing fields, which caters for rugby and cricket and is frequented by dog-walkers. Within the nearby Lewes Brooks area, an RSPB reserve has been established, hoping to boost the population of native snipe, lapwing and redshank. Public footpaths on the meadows and banks of the River Ouse provide excellent habitat for sightings of lapwing, redshank, little grebe, cormorant, reed bunting, reed warbler, common sandpiper, snipe, little egret, as well as the chance of short-eared owl and other raptors. The vibrant Swan Pub is 5-minute walk from the house and is a local favourite serving a selection from the Harvey’s Brewery in Lewes.
The Lewes Rowing Club dates from 1873, and the boat club still supports the use of the River Ouse. The nearby village of Piddinghoe is a popular area for wild swimming in the River Ouse and sailing on Piddinghoe Lake. A short, 15-minute drive brings you to the lovely beaches and coastline of Tide Mills.
There is much to do in the nearby Lewes, a 20-minute walk on footpaths away and home to plenty of independent shops, antiquarian bookshops and several antique markets. There are numerous cafes, such as Patisserie Lewes and Flint Owl Bakery, and galleries, including The Star Brewery Gallery and the Needlemakers. There are also many independent businesses that stock work by local craftspeople. Glyndebourne Opera House is only a few miles away, and special coaches are laid on at Lewes Station during the season. There is a new cinema and art complex, The Depot, which shows various mainstream and arthouse movies. Lewes Castle is a wonderful local landmark with stunning panoramic views across Sussex from the top of the fortification.
Lewes is also known for its Bonfire Night, which it hosts annually on November 5th. It is a spectacle like no other; a large, costumed parade comprises various bonfire societies that wind their way through the town to their separate bonfires. The Battle of Lewes is a popular community event taking place over two days every May and running through the streets of the town at various points on the High Street, from Lewes Castle ending at Lewes Priory.
Lewes Priory Secondary School as well as Lewes Old Grammar School are both around a 20-minute walk from the house and are both excellent schools. Southover Primary School and Western Road Primary School are both excellent local primaries a short walk mostly on footpaths away in Lewes.
For an even wider range of amenities, Brighton is also close by – only 15 minutes by train – with its countless restaurants, shops and cafes. A 20-minute drive to Newhaven brings you to the Dieppe ferry to France. Lewes railway station is a 15-minute walk and has direct services to London in around 63 minutes and Clapham Junction in under an hour. There are also direct services to Gatwick Airport that take approximately 31 minutes. Lewes is on the A27, connecting the A23 London to Brighton road.
Council Tax Band: Main House G, Rear Dwelling C
The village of Kingston is situated on the edge of the medieval town of Lewes, an Anglo Saxon settlement established just before the Norman conquest. Kingston was originally a hamlet of small farms sprawling outside Lewes, with long strips of land or “laines” extending behind each settlement.
Lewes was historically a busy river port, exporting the Sussex crops of grain and wool. The agricultural nature of the area remained relatively unchanged from Saxon times right through to the beginning of the Victorian period.
The 19th century brought significant physical change after the old open field system was abandoned with the Enclosure Act of 1833. The act enclosed open fields and common land in England, creating legal property rights to land that was previously considered common, meaning poorer farmers could no longer work the land without owning fields.
During this time, much of the area became fruit orchards and horticultural nurseries. Indeed, the original plot around the house was originally a plant nursery. It later became an infant nursery in the mid 20th century, which is still warmly remembered by residents in the area.
The area grew and diversified throughout the early 20th century, with the decline of agricultural prominence and the establishment of Sussex University in the 1960s breathing new life into the area.