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Alderden Old Manor
New
Sandhurst, Kent£1,950,000 Freehold

Alderden Old Manor

Once owned by a celebrated Rolling Stones photographer, Alderden has a magical, creative atmosphere

This astonishing Grade II*-listed house occupies one-half of a grand Tudor manor dating to the 16th century, if not earlier. Unfolding over 5,400 sq ft, the six-bedroom home is defined by its immense timber frame and intricate leaded windows. A sensitive restoration has celebrated its rare historic features, including swathes of panelling and a handful of remarkably intricate carved fireplace surrounds. Beautiful gardens meld with the surrounding countryside and encompass a large swimming pool and sweeping lawns. Alderden Manor is situated in a bucolic pocket of Kent equidistant to the larger towns of Cranbrook and Hawkhurst and close to the East Sussex border.

Setting the Scene

The manor sits in the heart of the Weald of Kent, an area that was once covered in woodland; its name, ‘Alderdon’, derives from the Old English for ‘forest’. Strikingly well-preserved, the house is shaped by its 16th-century details. Outside, these include exposed timber beams typical of the area and sculptural brick chimneys. Casement windows with wooden mullions and transoms and diamond-shaped leaded panes punctuate its stunning exterior.

Inside, the sitting rooms display remarkable panelling which likely dates from the early 17th century, as well as, as Historic England observes, a “very fine Jacobean overmantel with pilasters and angels”. Elsewhere, large inglenooks can be found, as can moulded beams and an original oak door that opens into the garden from the main, impressively wide hallway, now used as a dining room. For more information, see the History section.

The Grand Tour

Metal gates open to a sweeping driveway leading to the side of the house. The door most frequently used by the house’s current owner sits here and opens to a useful boot room, with ample space for hanging coats. This area could be transformed into a cosy study area, if desired.

In turn, this space leads to the formal entrance hall; currently used as an arresting dining and sitting room, it is warmed by an open fire in a large, brick inglenook. Wooden mullions bathe the room in light and frame views across the gardens. The adjacent sitting room shares in these delightfully green views, but instead boasts a run of 17th-century panelling. Here, a Jacobean overmantel is exquisitely finished with carved carved pilasters, angels and intricate patterns. A dentilled cornice runs around the top of the room, just below the beams, with unique and expressive carved wooden heads.

The kitchen lies on the south side of the house, with a green electric Aga and a romantic window seat set into mint-painted cabinetry. A granite worktop snakes around the room, set below a racing green-tiled splashback. This floor is also home to a useful utility room.

From here, a staircase leads to the first floor, where the house’s second sitting room lies. The room is crowned by a moulded bresummer beam which still bears its original painted decoration that depicts a serpentine line surrounding green-painted Tudor roses. The principal bedroom sits adjacent and is adjoined to a dressing room and an en suite bathroom. There are two additional bedrooms on this floor, one with its en suite, as well as a larger family bathroom. The second floor is home to two further bedrooms and an additional shared bathroom.

The Great Outdoors

Delightful gardens surround the house and are stocked with beautifully planted borders of jasmine, roses and woodland honeysuckle. There is a swimming pool to one side, with plenty of space beside it to read and sunbathe. There is also a pool house, providing shelter and shade from the sun in the height of summer. A rotunda sits towards the end of the garden, near a pond which has played a key role in increasing the garden’s biodiversity.

A double garage is bookended by a store room on one side and a workshop on the other. The first floor of the garage has been thoughtfully turned into a home gym.

Out and About

Cranbrook, with its pastoral, medieval feel, was once known as the ‘Capital of the Weald’. It is home to a large church with a clock mechanism that served as the prototype for Big Ben. Popular local spots to visit include Larkin’s Alehouse, a family-run micropub on the high street. Slightly further afield, in nearby Hawkhurst, are Great House and Water Lane, a vinery and restaurant owned by the founders of Melrose & Morgan. Hawkhurst also has a terrific independent cinema, Kino.

Additional shopping opportunities can be found in Tenterden, Maidstone and Royal Tunbridge Wells, all within 15 miles. The latter is one of the most popular towns in the south-east, thanks to its historic architecture, green spaces, outstanding schools and excellent links to the capital. Favourite local cafés and restaurants include MomentumSt Kilda, The Ivy, Thackeray’s and Bocca Social. The Pantiles are a particularly lovely part of the town shaped by elegant, Georgian architecture. The Forum is a particularly lively local music venue attracting varied music acts.

The rolling Kentish countryside is a short drive away. The Wealden woodland of Hemsted Forest is a beautiful place to walk and Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest, reachable in under 20 minutes, is a significant conservation area and home to the world’s largest number of conifer trees. Here, lakes and ponds teem with wildlife and various walking trails meander through Dallimore Valley with its spectacular hillside views. Further west is Bewl Water; the largest reservoir in the south-east, it sits within 800 acres of parkland.

This part of Kent is also home to many wonderful gardens.  Sissinghurst Castle and Gardens is around two miles away, while Great Dixter at Northiam and Batemans at Burwash are both around 11 miles from the house. Burwash also has a great pub, Lakedown Taproom.

The lovely coastal town of Rye lies around 18 miles south, with Camber Sands, Romney Marsh and Dungeness Nature Reserve all close by. Hastings and St Leonards are also around 20 minutes away by car and afford galleries, independent shops and enticing eateries.

There are many highly regarded state and private schools in the area. Set in the heart of the town, and within walking distance, is the sought-after co-ed grammar, Cranbrook School. Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Girls and Maidstone Grammar School are also brilliant, state-run options.

Trains run from Staplehurst (five miles away) into London in around an hour. The M25, Gatwick Airport and the Eurotunnel Terminal are all within easy driving distance.

Council Tax Band: H

Please note that all areas, measurements and distances given in these particulars are approximate and rounded. The text, photographs and floor plans are for general guidance only. Inigo has not tested any services, appliances or specific fittings — prospective purchasers are advised to inspect the property themselves. All fixtures, fittings and furniture not specifically itemised within these particulars are deemed removable by the vendor.

History

Sandhurst is a comely village in Kent, close to the border with East Sussex. Despite its diminutive size, it is filled with buildings and structures that testify to its early history; in the centre of the town is a war memorial designed by the late great British architect Edwin Lutyens, as well as a clock tower built in 1889. Both have been issued Grade II listing status. An even earlier history is thought to explain the church’s placement on the peripheries of the town, namely the spread of the Black Death during the 14th century. However, a lack of archaeological evidence for this theory suggests instead that the church’s site can be explained by the increased traffic along the London to Rye road that ran through the village.

Alderden Old Manor — Sandhurst, Kent
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