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Compton End
Compton, Hampshire£1,750,000 Freehold

Compton End

"[A] miniature natural valley ... giving some feeling of reclusiveness" - H. Avary Tipping, 'The Garden of To-Day', 1933

This exceptional Grade II*-listed house is located on the edge of the village of Compton, Hampshire. At the turn of the century, the original 17th-century thatched cottage and its grounds were extended and restored in the Arts and Crafts style by Winchester-based architect G. H. Kitchin; as a result, they enjoy a wonderfully symbiotic relationship. The latter, still laid out to Kitchin’s designs, features on England’s Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. Within the grounds are a 17th-century Grade II-listed barn and peaceful pink summerhouse, while the internal plan, spanning some 2,500 sq ft, has a bright garden room and, as architectural historian David Ottewill put it, “all the Arts and Crafts hallmarks”.

Setting the Scene

Just three miles from pretty Winchester with its breathtaking cathedral – the largest of its kind in northern Europe – Compton End is a palimpsest of history. The heart of the house dates to the 17th century, initially constructed with an oak frame, a brick infill and a thatched roof. It doubled in size in the 18th century, resulting in a larger farmhouse with additional living and sleeping rooms. It was then expanded again by Arts and Crafts architect G. H. Kitchin between 1891 and 1920, who was looking for a countryside home within easy distance of Winchester. For more information, please see the History section.

The Grand Tour 

The formal entrance leads into a lovely hall with a guest WC and a corridor in turn. To the west side of the house sits the kitchen, a warm space with wooden floors underfoot and beams overhead. White-painted cabinetry here is topped with smooth granite worktops, and an electric Aga warms the room throughout the winter months. A generous walk-in pantry is perfect for storing and stocking.

Beyond is a dining room, located in a converted outbuilding with a useful utility at one end. With ceilings that follow the roofline, the room has brilliantly high proportions. From here is the garden room, a glazed space added by Kitchin as part of his renovation in around 1900. It was built into the sunny angle of two walls outside the sitting room, constructed with broad former shop windows and a flat roof that provides a balcony for the room above. It makes for wonderfully perennial prospects, with Country Life writing in 1919 that “it can be used for meals with the door open, and without a fire on any bright winter’s day”.

From here, double doors lead through to the double reception room, crowned by an impressive bressummer beam. On either side is a refined fireplace; one has been fitted with a warming gas fired stove with red-painted bookshelves to one side, while the other is an exposed brick inglenook.

The whole house has a gentle flow, with limited corridor space, much of the plan is given over to its various living spaces. There is also a study on this floor.

Upstairs, on the first floor, are four bedrooms – one with an en suite shower room – and a family bathroom. A second set of stairs leads up to a large boarded attic, which provides additional storage space. Beneath the house is a cellar, perfect for storing wine.

The Great Outdoors 

The garden, thoughtfully laid out by Kitchin in the Arts and Crafts style, has remained essentially unchanged, and its creation “satisfied his knowledge and aspirations [and] was [his] most protracted endeavour and completest achievement”. At approximately one-and-a-third acres, it wonderfully “combines formality and informality” (H. Avray Tipping, ‘The Gardens of To-Day’, 1933), to create a “tenderly cultured oasis”. On two sides of the house, the gardens are arranged out as a series of formal compartments, or garden rooms. The porch on the east opens onto a brick walk which extends to the front with a boundary of conifers and flanked by herbaceous borders. High yew hedges are crowned with topiary domes, and arches have been grown into them, providing ‘doors’ to the various rooms.

A strip of garden in the middle was slowly turned into an informal wild garden by excavating the centre and throwing the soil up on either side. This has formed a narrow dell with an irregularly paved path down the middle, and a certain amount of rockwork at the sides.

Further south is a pond, a croquet lawn, a working part of the kitchen – where the current owners have laid out a vegetable garden – and wonderful picturesque views across the valley. Here, a pink-washed summerhouse, built c.1910 by Kitchin, provides a space with windows on four sides, to sit, read, or to work. It was entirely rebuilt in 2000 under the direction of Winchester architect Huw Thomas and comprises two storeys with a lower floor for storage and a crowning cedar shingle roof, offering the delightful potential for a unique home office.

The recently restored barn is now used by the current owner as a library and additional storage. Grade II-listed, it dates from the 17th century and is timber-framed and weatherboarded, with a wall of brick at the end. Inside, there is a queen strut roof with elegant curved braces.

Out and About

Found in a rural valley in the pastoral village of Compton, the house is ideally located to explore both Winchester and the surrounding countryside. The house is only 15 minutes on foot away is the River Itchen, a classic chalk river which provides beautiful spots for walking, fishing and wild swimming.

Nearby, you will find the impressive 18-hole Hockley Golf Course dating back to 1914, the open country and woods of Farley Mount Country Park, with the ancient Crab Wood which lies therein, and the fantastic Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium.

The city centre is approximately a mile away, easily accessible via a level walk or a bus along St Cross Road. There are lovely walks through the water meadows, up St Catherine’s Hill, and around the sweeping grounds of Winchester College.

The River Itchen surrounds Winchester City, where John Keats once took afternoon strolls. Its outstanding facilities include a hospital, an Everyman cinema, plenty of shops, and restaurants including the Chesil Rectorythe IvyRick Stein and River Cottage Canteen.

The area is also known for its excellent standard of schooling, including Winchester College, Pilgrims’, Twyford, St Swithun’s, Prince’s Mead and Peter Symonds Sixth Form College. Wykeham House falls within the catchment of St Faith’s Primary School, which is consistently among the top schools in the country for SATs results.

As well as its mainline railway station, Compton End is around a 18 minute-walk from Shawford station, which has direct trains to London. Winchester has easy access to the road network via the M3, and is a short distance from Southampton International Airport. The South Downs, the New Forest and the South Coast are all within easy reach.

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

Compton village dates from Saxon times. Its name derived from cumb – a valley, especially a chalk valley, and tun – enclosed land with dwellings, a village. Compton was a community of small farmers farming both in the fields of the valley and on the chalk downs above it. It has a linear form with a long line of homesteads along Compton Street, each in its little plot of ground, stretching west from the old Roman road [now Otterbourne Road] and past the church.

George H. Kitchin’s father had been Dean of Winchester before moving to Durham, and he was a friend of Charles Dodgson [Lewis Carroll] from their time at Oxford University together. As a child, George was photographed with his siblings by Dodgson. His sister Alice was photographed by Dodgson more than fifty times.

By 1910, Kitchin had changed the name of the house from Dummers Farm to Compton End. He also undertook to change the entrance; the old path from the street ran directly to the old front door on the east side of the house, but was moved a few meters, to a new front door on the north, to give more privacy to the garden site to the east:

“… a new front door and small entrance hall, with a dressing room and proper bathroom over, were built out on the end facing the lane, adding greatly to the comfort of the house and the privacy of the garden. Before this, what is now the garden porch had been the front door, and being a favourite place for tea and outdoor meals in the summer, it was impossible to escape callers and say “Not at home” when caught in the act.” Country Life, 1919

His work on the house demonstrates an appreciation of local materials and craftsmanship. Features were rescued from other buildings and reused here, including columns, fireplaces and panelling. Built with sensitivity to the materials and form of the older house, the new extensions were unabashedly Arts and Crafts in their picturesque features and asymmetry. Kitchin also wanted to embed the house in its extensive gardens, creating strong connections between inside and out.

The garden was featured in an article of 1933 by H. Avary Tipping, who gave its enchanting qualities high praise: “From a garden room added to the south end of the cottage, we step out along a path formally edged with borders but ending with rough segmental steps taking you down into a slight hollow, shady and tree set, its banks and broken ground spangled with many a modest flower, growing as it were wild in this miniature natural valley …which succeeds in giving you some feeling of reclusiveness.” ‘The Garden of To-Day’, 1933.

Kitchin lived in the house until his death in 1951. During his time, the back of the house – the bedrooms over the kitchen and pantry – was home to a live-in couple, his cook/housekeeper and chauffeur/gardener.

Compton End — Compton, Hampshire
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