A magnificent Grade II*-listed manor house surrounded by its own double-moat, Hunston Manor House extends to over 5,700 sq ft internally. Seven generous bedrooms and an array of fantastic living spaces are housed within the grounds of a sprawling garden that contains multiple outbuildings, a swimming pool and a tennis court. The house is ten minutes from the sea and surrounded by numerous walks, such as the nearby canal path which gently winds towards Chichester Harbour.
Setting the Scene
Hunston Manor House is thought to have been built in the 1670s and was once owned by the Earl of Arundel. It was, until relatively recently, a rural farmstead, comprising the house itself, numerous outbuildings and the church opposite. Historical records reveal that – quite incredibly – there has been a settlement on the site of the house since the mid-Saxon period. It was bought by the current owners in the 1990s, who undertook an incredible restoration, breathing life back into an almost derelict building and revealing architectural features that had been hidden over hundreds of years. They used a combination of traditional building techniques and modern construction methods to create a wonderful, characterful home.
The Grand Tour
The house is approached via a long track leading from the main road, past the church and along the driveway towards a handsome façade. Built during the reign of Charles II, the house beautifully illustrates the era’s Restoration style. A rare double-moat would have surrounded the house at one point; a single moat remains, fed by a large pond complete with a wooden pontoon. Entry is through a central front door into the lobby. To the left is a reading room/snug; to the right a large hallway, complete with a deep brick inglenook, once covered over with plasterboard but revealed by the current owners. At the far end is the formal drawing room, home to one of many large fireplaces. These rooms run along the front of the house with windows bookended by original shutters that frame bucolic views of the front garden, the pond and the church.
A second entrance, through an informal boot room, is found at the other end of the house. To one side is a store-room once used for food and meat, which has original meat-hooks hanging from the beams. This is a flexible space that could be used as a study or snug. Opposite lies a generous kitchen with a soaring pitched ceiling, intersected by the original beams. It has a warming oil-fired Aga, blue-painted cabinetry and solid oak floors with windows overlooking the formal rose garden. Beyond is a pantry with a deep butler sink and a downstairs WC, set against a quarry-tiled floor. Leading off from the kitchen, glazed French doors open from the dining room onto a sun-drenched, south-facing brick terrace. A long corridor with a beautiful flagstone floor leads past a library lined with bookshelves to a generous hall with a brick inglenook, now occupied by a wood-burning stove.
A wooden staircase leads upstairs to the main bedrooms, passing a large window and lovingly restored original wood panelling en route. The master bedroom has two large windows which frame views of the serpentine driveway, the moat and the church. A row of cupboards create a dressing area and there is a generous en suite bathroom with a luxurious freestanding cast-iron bath. On this floor, there are two further double bedrooms, each with a distinct atmosphere and style. Upstairs in the old maids’ quarters are three further bedrooms.
The Great Outdoors
Hunston Manor House sits in the middle of three acres of private gardens and a further three acres of organic fields. To the rear of the house, the south-facing sun terrace bleeds into the lawn which abuts a beautifully sculpted yew hedge. A tall opening within the hedge leads to the tennis court, flanked on one side by an orchard with medieval-themed fruit trees including mature quince, apple, pear, mulberry and medlar.
To one side of the house is a formal rose garden complete with sculptural topiary and to the other is a swimming pool surrounded by paved areas – perfect for sunbaking on summer afternoons. An outhouse contains a pool house as well as a fantastic yoga studio, ideal for either solo practice or for hosting retreats. There is also a hardstanding surface surrounded by outbuildings with running water and electricity, some of which are currently being used as studio space. There is a separate barn which a florist uses as her workshop and other barns which are currently used for storage but could easily be reinstated as stables or suchlike.
Out and About
Chichester is a small cathedral city with a rich history and a vibrant cultural scene, most notably including the renowned Chichester Festival Theatre and Pallant House Gallery. It is a settlement that dates back to Roman times and is renowned for its outstanding architecture of all periods. It has an excellent range of shops and restaurants; other attractions include the Goodwood Estate (where there is a racecourse and festivals throughout the year), the South Down Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Chichester Harbour, and nearby beaches including West Wittering. The mainline railway station runs services to London Victoria in approximately 90 minutes.
The site now home to Hunston Manor House has hosted a dwelling since the mid-Saxon period, so is veritably soused in history. Records show that it belonged to the Earl of Arundel in 1518, who was one of the only English noblemen to have held a position in the court of all the later Tudor monarchs (Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I). The house lies within the Manhood Peninsula conservation area which has its origins as a Christian settlement established in the 7th century.
The existing house is estimated to have been built between 1660 and 1680, almost 300 years before Hunston Village itself was constructed in the mid-20th century. Before this point, the village construed just a few small dwellings and the man-made Chichester Canal, built around 1820. St Leodegar’s Church, which the manor house looks towards, was rebuilt in 1885 after the original structure (built in 1086) fell into disrepair having survived nearly 800 years of history, including the Dissolution of the Monasteries during the reign of Henry VIII.
The word Hunston translates from the Old English ‘hunstan’, meaning stone. Appropriately, Hunston Manor House was constructed using a mixture of Mixen stone sourced from Selsey Bill, a local town, and imported stone. While the manor house itself was built around 1670, the stone angle window dressings at the eastern end of the house likely have their origins in medieval times.
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