This handsome, Grade II-listed house dates back to the late 18th-century and sits in the bucolic village of Yalding, Kent. Behind a lime-washed, double-fronted façade, the internal spaces span over 4,000 sq ft; there are 7 bedrooms and a series of elegant reception spaces. Externally, pretty landscaped gardens and a rolling croquet lawn unfold across 1.8 acres, including a separate gated paddock. Often referred to as the Garden County, Kent is wonderfully bucolic, but has fast transport links to central London. Yalding is roughly an hours drive from London, and there are regular train services to Waterloo in under an hour.
Setting the Scene
With deeds dating back to the 1700’s, previous owners include a Captain, a Canon, a Colonel and a Lady E R Egerton (Daughter of the Marquess of Ormonde, and Chicago Heiress, Ellen Stager). The substantial house has played a pivotal role in the village throughout the years, with village fetes held in the paddock and the gardens previously open to the public.
Yalding was a favourite of Edith Nesbit, author of The Railway Children, who wrote in the 1920s: “The Medway just above the Anchor is a river of dreams…If you go to Yalding you may stay at the George and be comfortable in a little village that owns a haunted churchyard, a fine church, and one of the most beautiful bridges in Europe”. For more information, please see the History section below.
The Grand Tour
The approach to the house is via a private front garden, with spectacular clipped topiary hedging. The house’s 18th-century vernacular origins are evident, with its clean, classical design and long, low-build. Through an original timber door, one enters the main entrance hallway; finished in a neutral palette throughout, the house is painted a clean shade of white and the ground floor is laid with large format porcelain slabs.
To the left of the hall is an expansive open-plan kitchen and breakfast room. Lit by dual aspect patio doors to the garden, and a curved sash window to the front, the space has an exceptional quality of natural light. The dining area is arranged around an original fireplace, while a large, custom built, culinary grade stainless steel kitchen and island occupying the rear of the space. With built in Bosch ovens and coffee machine, the kitchen has sleek powder coated stainless steel cabinetry and a crisp marble worktop.
Leading on from the kitchen and behind the entrance hall, there is a useful utility and guest WC. From here, there is easy access to the formal dining room. A charming space, the room has exposed timber beams on the walls and overhead.
There is a large, formal reception room adjacent the kitchen. Triple aspect, there are windows to the front and rear, and a patio door leading to a terrace overlooking the formal lawns. The . The room retains an original fire surround (with recently integrated wood burning stove), and a number of original arched alcoves are perfect for reading a book, or displaying art.
At the rear of the house, and accessed via a separate boot room with its own entrance, is a large reception room. Thought to sit in the oldest part of the building, the space has wonderful exposed beams and a large, open fireplace. There is a separate WC and smaller family, or garden room, which overlooks the formal lawns.
Ascending to the first floor, there is an expansive, dual aspect primary bedroom overlooking the quiet, front garden. Adjacent is a smaller secondary bedroom, or nursery, and both are set with the bowed, sash windows that define the main façade of the house. There are a further three bedrooms on this floor (two with en suite) and two large, family bathrooms with two baths and shower.
On the second floor, and accessed via separate staircases, are the eaves rooms. Formerly the servants quarters, the bedrooms and attic rooms overlook the quiet gardens.
The Great Outdoors
Externally, the gardens are separated into four, distinct areas; the topiary garden, a rose garden, formal lawn and separate paddock. The more formal, front garden, is home to decades old hedging, which has been clipped into marvellous architectural forms; this architectural, green area is punctuated with tulips and wildflowers along the main path leading to the house.
To the rear, and overlooked by the kitchen and rear reception room, is the rose garden; laid out around an ornamental pond, with decorative paving, the garden has been lain in a circular form, and is host to an array of rambling roses, climbing roses and well-established English roses. To the side of the house is the expansive lawn; originally a croquet lawn, the space is bordered by established privacy hedging alongside the original wall, and has several mature willow and specimen trees.
Abutting the garden is a gravelled drive, which leads to a double garage. The space has been bordered by wooden estate fencing, and has been recently gravelled. From here, one can access the private paddock; spanning over an acre, the space is perfect for equestrian use.
Out and About
The village of Yalding has a number of eateries and useful amenities. There is a library, doctors surgery, convenience store and several annual events, including a Yuletide Market and yearly Gratitude festival. Prince Charles opened the wonderful Yalding Organic Gardens and there is a bi-weekly farmers market. For the food-inclined, the Boathouse Pub, Walnut Tree and Tickled Trout (owned by the Hush Heath Estate) all date back to the 17th-century, whilst the Woolpack Inn dates from the 15th-century. Yalding’s Cricket Club is still active, with their first recorded game in 1798.
The area is perfect for rambling or walks with four legged friends, with the Yalding Fen and Yalding Lees on the doorstep of the house and river walks along the Beult and Tieise. The Greensand Way runs through the village on its way from Haslemere, in Surrey, to Hamstreet in Kent. There is also a nearby Waitrose in Paddock Wood.
A little further afield is the historic market town of Royal Tunbridge Wells, as is Leeds Castle and grounds, which is host to a historic monument and year-round events. The Mereworth Winery and Balfour Winery are both a short drive away, as is the Bedgebury Pinetum Forest and Water Lane Walled Garden (led by Nick Selby and Ian James).
There is an exceptional array of schooling in the area, with Yalding Primary School, Dulwich College Prep and Sevenoaks Prep catering for juniors. Local secondary schooling (both public and private) is notable throughout Kent, and includes Judd, Tunbridge Wells Grammar, Tonbridge, Sevenoaks and Kings Rochester.
Yalding Station is a 3-minute drive, or short walk from the house, and runs regular services to Waterloo in under an hour. The area has quick and easy access to the M25 and M20, and the Channel Tunnel is a 45-minute drive, with easy access to France via car.
Council Tax Band: H
With Saxon origins, the name Yalding was derived from the Olde English word ‘Ealdingas’, which roughly translates as ‘the place of the Ealda’, who were a widespread tribe in the area until the 9th-century. By 1212, the town was recorded as ‘Ealding’ which had later mutated to ‘Yaldinge’ by 1642.
There are three bridges in the village; the Twyford Bridge (meaning twin ford, where there was originally a double crossing of the two rivers), is one of the finest medieval bridges in the South East of England. A principal shipment point along the River Medway, the wharf was used for transporting cannon, fruit and vegetables (many of which were grown in the local area).
The 13th-century, St Peter and Paul’s Church is a fine, Grade I listed chapel in the village and is still in use to this day.
The medieval records of Yalding are so complete that it has been used as a history case study for many secondary schools, aptly named the ‘Yalding Project’.
- Five Good Things: what to see, read, visit and buy this OctoberPursuits
- At the Table: an evening of fun and feasting with Olympia and Ariadne IrvingLeisure
- Northern Lights: five homes in the north that have us in awe
- A Maker’s Story: Roddy Maude-Roxby, the man behind the maskInteriors
- Inspiration of the Week: more is more at this timber-framed house in Suffolk