Positioned on the edge of the pretty village of Boughton Monchelsea is this wonderful Grade II-listed house. Located between the Kentish Downs and the Kent Weald, its beautiful setting has unparalleled and uninterrupted views of the Weald beyond. Set on a gentle hillside within nine acres of beautifully landscaped private gardens, this early 16th-century home is timber-framed with a handsome medieval vernacular structure. Internal accommodation unfolds over almost 4,500 sq ft across three light-filled storeys, with five bedrooms. Exceptional original hand-crafted joinery and detailing run throughout, including countless oak beams and supports, mullioned windows and inglenook fireplaces. Additionally, there is a charming two-bedroom guest cottage in the grounds. London is reachable by train from nearby Staplehurst station in just 50 minutes.
Setting the Scene
Boughton Monchelsea is a village in the heart of Kent, its history inextricably linked to the orchards and agricultural heritage of the area. Commonly known as Quarry Hills, the surrounding area lies between the North Downs and Kent Weald. The name has Norman roots, so-called after the family who was given the manor after the conquest of 1066.
This Grade II-listed house was originally a Wealden Hall house, built in the 16th century with later sympathetic additions. Timber framed, the house features a lime-rendered infill with a tiled façade on the south-facing elevation. Half-hipped with clay tiles, the roof forms a series of pitches. It has an exceptional quality of light internally, unusual in a vernacular building and medieval structure, thanks to the south-facing light that bathes the entire house and gardens. The house comprises a series of characterful living spaces, culminating in an expansive and brilliantly designed kitchen, some 30 ft long. There are also five spacious en suite bedrooms arranged over the upper floors.
The Grand Tour
A private brick-paved driveway leads off Wierton Hill and circles around the expansive lily pond at the front of the house. This winds around to a trio of garages at the rear beside the woodland copse. Entry to the main house is via a stone footpath that bridges over a babbling stream to the original heavy wooden plank door. This opens to the entrance hall, which, like all of the spaces on the ground floor, is characterised by exposed beams, lending a great sense of strength. The hall has brick-paved flooring underfoot. There is a guest cloakroom in the main hall and a separate staircase that leads to the main bedroom suite above.
Understood to form the original 16th-century hall house, the drawing room and adjacent sitting room are connected by a plank door. They share mirror inglenook fireplaces, home to working open fires, each with a 14 ft bressummer set above. Oak floorboards ground both rooms. A secondary box staircase leads from the sitting room to the remaining bedrooms on the upper floors. The dining room shares an open oak frame with a separate snug area at the back, unified by an original flagstone floor.
The kitchen is set in the late 20th-century addition. Built in a highly sympathetic manner, it forms an expansive open-plan room with high ceilings and roof lights at the rear. Panelled cupboards are positioned centrally, matched by two built-in dressers and a central island unit with black quartz resting atop. There is a double butler sink, a large Gaggenau hob and oven, and a five-door/three-plate Aga. A separate pantry area leads to a generous utility and laundry room, while the boiler room also cleverly doubles as a boot room.
On the first floor are four bedrooms, each with its own bathroom. The main bedroom suite also has a separate dressing room. On the uppermost floor, at the apex of the house, is a particularly lovely bedroom. It spans the entire depth of the original hall house and is some 30 ft long. Here, the open pitch of the roof has exposed beams, and there is a separate seating area. Dual-aspect windows allow a fantastic quality of light into the space.
For overspill accommodation, Tanyard Cottage is conveniently positioned just across the driveway. Clad in weatherboard with a steeply pitched roof, it has a pleasing agricultural appearance. The house has two bedrooms and an open-plan living room and kitchen. Immensely charming and characterful, it also has a private courtyard garden for soaking up glorious south-facing views.
The Great Outdoors
The southern orientation of the house and grounds mean flora and fauna flourish everywhere. Carefully laid out and beautifully maintained, the gardens encompass a series of three ponds fed by a natural well, with a stream running through each in turn. An orchard with apple, pear, cherry, quince and walnut trees is set to the rear of the house, bearing fruit throughout the summer and autumn months.
A series of expansive lawns envelop the entire house and lead to the paddock at the southern end of the gardens. There is an all weather tennis court and a kitchen garden with raised beds to the east of the house, beside the ancient private woodland. Carpets of snowdrops, daffodils and bluebells carpet various areas of the grounds from February through to May-time. Flowers, including dahlias and roses, as well as herbaceous borders, are mainly focused around the central lily pond. Several spots around the gardens are designed to sit and contemplate the exceptional views, including from the stone terrace in front of the kitchen and the wooden deck overlooking the lily pond and landscape beyond.
In addition to the ancillary detached three-bay garage, there is also a separate workshop and a large greenhouse
Out and About
Boughton Monchelsea has a post office, village hall, pub and other amenities. Several excellent farm shops are dotted around the surrounding villages, with nearby Staplehurst and Goudhurst with excellent provisors. The area is home to several excellent and notable restaurants. The Milk House in Sissinghurst is one of the best-loved due to its emphasis on local produce and its lovely garden that overlooks vineyards. The Dirty Habit in Hollingbourne derives its name from its status as an 11th-century stop-off point for those on the Pilgrim’s Way towards Canterbury. For fine dining, The West House in Biddenden is an excellent choice, as much for the food as for the setting in a 16th-century weaver’s cottage.
Adventures in nature are plentiful in the Kentish countryside. Aside from the countless walks in the Downs and North Weald, the local deer park, grounds of the private Elizabethan manor house Boughton Monchelsea Place and visible from the village, is just on the other side of Wierton Hill. Some of England’s finest country houses and gardens are easily accessible, including Sissinghurst Castle Garden and Leeds, Hever and Scotney Castles.
There is an excellent range of primary and secondary schools in the area. Within the village is Boughton Monchelsea Primary school, housed in a lovely Victorian building, while also nearby is Loose Primary school, rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofstead. The surrounding area also benefits from a range of Grammar schools, including the ‘outstanding’ Ofsted-rated Invicta Grammar School for girls and Maidstone Grammar for boys. Independent day schools include Sutton Valence School, Sevenoaks School, Cranbrook School and Benenden School.
Despite its tranquil setting, Boughton Monchelsea is exceptionally well-connected. It lies just a 15-minute drive south of the M20, connecting directly to the M25 that leads to Folkestone and the Kent coast. Ashford International is 35 minutes’ drive away for the high-speed rail service to the continent, while Staplehurst station, just 10 minutes’ drive away, has half-hourly trains running to London Bridge station in just 50 minutes.
Council Tax Band Main House: H
Council Tax Band Cottage: E
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