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The Old Manor House
Chilworth, Surrey£2,750,000 Freehold

The Old Manor House

Oak panelled walls are punctuated by soaring leaded glass windows that look to the verdant lawn and trees beyond

This wonderful early 17th-century, Grade II-listed house is set in the village of Chilworth, within the Surrey Hills AONB and equidistant from Guildford and Godalming. Built in the Artisan Mannerist style and with later 19th and early 20th century additions, the house is replete with original features, including wonderful panelling, leaded lights and a fine red-brick exterior. Set over 5,500 sq ft and with eight bedrooms, it unfolds across three storeys and is set within an almost 0.75-acre mature garden complete with an outdoor heated swimming pool. Chilworth lies within the verdant Surrey countryside, with its bucolic, undulating landscape all around. Yet, the village is just 47 minutes by train from London Waterloo with a change at Guildford, where further central London station connections are also available.

Setting the Scene

Chilworth village is positioned in the valley of the River Tillingbourne, quietly nestled between St Martha’s Hill to the north, Blackheath to the south, and within the greater rolling Surrey Hills AONB. A charming and peaceful village, its existence is formed around its agricultural and light industrial past, most notably as the home of the Chilworth Gunpowder Mills. Equidistant from both Godalming and Guildford, each around a 10-minute drive away, it is also moments from the very best the Surrey countryside has to offer.

The Old Manor House is recorded as the oldest house in the village, discreetly set within the Chilworth Conservation Area and located at the end of a gated driveway at the corner of Blacksmith Lane. It is surrounded by mature trees and gardens, with views to St Martha’s Hill to the north. A palimpsest of sorts, the primary phase of the house appears to be an early example of the Artisan Mannerist style, with the somewhat early date of 1609 resting above the house’s original entrance to the rear. Sympathetic Victorian and Edwardian additions of a similar design surround the original house, lending the home a sense of grandeur. For more information, please see the History section.

The Grand Tour

As its name suggests, the home has the appearance of a fine country manor house, built from red and brown brick with multiple Dutch gables of varying pitches set under clay tile roofs which are punctuated with several octagonal chimney stacks; these are all indicative of the Artisan Mannerist style. The elevations are inset with large leaded lights and casement windows, with the south-facing elevation also partially tile hung; there is an expansive Juliet balcony to the later south-eastern range on the first floor.

The main entrance is set within a two-storey porch to the side of the house nearest the driveway, with Doric brick pilasters, rubbed brick entablatures and a segmental pediment high above. The open porch acts as something of a boot area, with a flagstone floor and surrounded by wainscotting; there are seating benches and room for storing logs. The main entrance door has five fielded panels, with flanking lights set under a dentilled broken pediment.

Opening to the large interior hallway, pine floorboards extend underfoot leading to a further pedimented doorway which in turn opens to the grand staircase and large open-plan drawing room. Originally three separate spaces now brilliantly combined (one section was once the home’s library), this now exceptionally generous room is over 30 ft deep with oak-panelled walls punctuated by soaring leaded-glass windows looking to the lawn and trees beyond. There are two chalk fire surrounds with decorative 17th-century overmantles depicting biblical scenes; one shows Abraham binding Isaac to an altar, and the other Judith with the head of Holofernes. Both fireplaces are working, with large cast-iron baskets, further decorative firebacks and red-brick hearths.

Adjacent to the drawing room is a further grand reception room, currently used as a music room, with wainscotting and egg-and-dart plaster cornice with a dentilled row set below. This room is exceptionally light, care of vast floor-to-ceiling windows to both the south and east elevations. Two leaded lights face east, while a trio of single pane double casement windows open to the lawn.

To the rear of the staircase, a highly decorative oak door opens to an interior lobby, where there is access to a generous utility room and a family room/snug. This room is within the original 1600s house, with part of the original oak panelling set above the chalk fireplace and open hearth. A door from here leads to what would have been the home’s original entrance, to the rear.

The dining room and kitchen are set within a later addition, also leading from the interior lobby and in the west range of the house. The dining room is Edwardian in character, with a tall painted brick fireplace inset with a charming ornate stove. The kitchen floor is laid with clay tiles and there is a smart navy blue enamel five-door Aga; walls are butt-and-bead panelled with exposed ceiling joists above and two larders set behind plank doors. The kitchen opens to both the front garden’s private terrace and the rear walled garden and swimming pool; the intimate south-facing terrace is the perfect spot for a morning coffee.

Ascending to the first floor, sleeping quarters lead off a spacious landing area which is used as a library, bound by two oak balustrades to the rear where leaded windows allow views to St Martha’s Hill. There are six bedrooms in total on this floor. The principal bedroom is set in the original part of the house; fully panelled with a brick fireplace, it has an en suite bathroom with a roll-top bath and separate shower enclosure as well as a walk-in wardrobe. Two further bedrooms in the south range are particularly spacious and have French windows opening to Juliet balconies. These share a spacious family bathroom with a roll-top bath and a separate shower area. The three remaining bedrooms are in the east range and share a shower room.

Two bedrooms and a square-set landing space are on the uppermost storey among the eaves. These could also function as cosy study spaces or guest/staff quarters if required.

The Great Outdoors

The secluded gardens envelope The Old Manor House extending to almost three-quarters of an acre in total. To the front of the house, opening from the principal reception rooms, two enormous redwoods sit proudly on the edge of an expansive lawn, with further trees to the most south-eastern part of the garden, where there is currently a children’s play area. Planting within the deep beds includes holly, ferns, cherry trees, rhododendrons, hellebore, yew and various flowers.

To the northeast of the gardens, there is a timber cart lodge and garage with an internal height tall enough to accommodate an off-road vehicle if required. There is a loft space set into the pitched roof and electricity has been installed for convenience. There is also a triangular spring garden positioned here, with Amelanchier trees and hornbeams, raised beds and a potting shed. A secondary enclosed garden area is planted with various grasses and annuals, including dahlias, poppies and delphiniums.

The heated outdoor swimming pool is set in a wonderful separate walled garden to the rear of the house, surrounded by mature hornbeams for privacy, and with flower beds featuring agapanthus underneath. A stone-paved terrace allows space for sun loungers and outside dining, and the pool extends to a depth of eight ft and six inches.

Out and About

The village is brilliantly served for a population of less than 2,000 residents, and has its own post office, store and a popular village pub with an excellent menu, The Percy Arms.

Just 10 minutes’ drive away, Godalming has an array of independent shops and cafés, including Loaf Bakery, The Peppered Pear Pantry and The Godalming Food Company deli. The Hilltop Kitchen just outside Godalming offers wonderful lunches with views of the hills. There is also a Gail’s Bakery and a large branch of Waitrose, while beautiful walks wind along the River Wey on the outskirts of the town.

Guildford is also 10 minutes’ drive to the north of Chilworth. With its charming historic town centre, it has a good selection of independent shops, restaurants, cafés, and a weekly market while leisure facilities include the Yvonne Arnaud theatre, G Live music venue, the Surrey Sports Park and Spectrum Leisure Centre. The surrounding villages within the Surrey Hills also have further excellent pubs and restaurants dotted within the landscape.

Chilworth is surrounded by some of Surrey’s most beautiful walking and riding countryside set within an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty and with footpaths to St Martha’s Hill, Chantry Wood, Blackheath and links to the North Downs Way, leading through fields and long-established hillside woodlands along the ranges of hills. The Downs Link is also nearby just south of Blackheath and is another long-distance route following two disused railway lines crossing the Surrey Hills, offering great long-distance walking, and cycling routes through the Low Weald, the South Downs and the Coastal Plain.

For further adventures in the natural world, Winkworth Arboretum is a 10-minute drive away and offers excellent rambles through its woodlands and a café. Nearby Vann Garden is a horticultural enthusiast’s delight, with five acres of outdoor ‘rooms’ set around a fine 16th-century manor. Nearby recreational opportunities include golf at several clubs including Bramley, Guildford and Clandon, while there is fishing at several local venues, polo at Ewhurst, racing at Sandown Park and Epsom, and slightly further away, sailing at Chichester Harbour.

Tillingbourne Junior School and Chilworth Church of England Infant School and Nursery both serve the village up to the age of 11, while further excellent state and independent schools in the area (and mainly in Godalming and Guildford) include St Catherine’s School Bramley, Royal Grammar School Prep Guildford, Royal Grammar School Guildford, Tormead School, Guildford High School, Christs College Godalming Grammar School, Cranmore School, St Teresa’s School Effingham, Cranleigh School, Rodborough School, Broadwater School, Charterhouse School, St Hilary’s School, King Edwards School Witley, Godalming College and Prior’s Field School. Many of these schools operate a private bus service that collects pupils from the village.

Transport links for Chilworth are excellent, with Chilworth’s train station just five minutes’ walk from The Old Manor House. Positioned on the North Downs Line and operated by the Great Western Railway, the train connects to Guildford Station, with regular services to London Waterloo; total journey times with connection are just 47 minutes. Connecting trains from Guildford also go to London Victoria and London Bridge stations. Additionally, by taking the train eastwards, further connecting trains can be taken from Redhill Station and the line runs direct to Gatwick Airport. By car, there is an excellent road network and the nearby A3 gives further easy access to London, the M25 and the national motorway network, Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport.

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.


The Old Manor House is believed to have been built in 1609 as part of what was then a very small rural parish; the population was still only 215 by 1911. It is the oldest house in the village, except for Chilworth Manor which has roots to an 11th-century monastic order. The chief landowners were historically the Percy family at Albury, with various Dukes of Northumberland presiding over the land alongside the Godwin Austen family of Shalford. The division still exists as the village possesses two parish councils and two Members of Parliament.

The area is most well-known for its famous gunpowder works, which existed from the early 1600s until 1920. After the sale of the Duke of Northumberland’s land in 1922, house building in the village began in earnest, forming the village layout that exists today; the Percy family finally sold The Old Manor House in 1930 when it returned to private ownership. House building was discouraged by the landowners until that time as building in the vicinity of a gunpowder factory was considered dangerous.

Although largely a rural area historically, with the main crops grown being wheat, barley, oats and potatoes, the settlement also has a rich aforementioned industrial past. At various times in history, it has been the location of a wire mill, paper mill and said gunpowder factory. The wireworks were built in 1603 by Thomas Steere and others, who seduced workmen from the Tintern wireworks of the Company of Mineral and Battery Works. This infringed the latter company’s patent and enabled it to have the wireworks suppressed in 1606.

The Chilworth Gunpowder Mills were established in 1625 on the river banks by the East India Company. It was an important government supplier of powder, chemical propellants and cordite. The war years were a booming time for the company (and the post-war fall-off in demand a disaster). The Old Manor House was the home of Kapitan Bouvier in the late 19th century. He acted as the manager of the nearby Chilworth Gunpowder Works at the time, which was then operated by a German company from the 1880s onwards.

Before the railway was built in 1849, Chilworth was a hamlet of a few cottages around the bridge over the Tillingbourne River on the direct line to Guildford via Tyting, where the main entrance to the gunpowder works was located. The line when built provided transport not only for people but also farm animals and produce, wood and gunpowder which were previously transported by horse and cart to Shalford and from there on barges up the River Wey.

The second nucleus of settlement in the village was the erection of the railway station itself, with the village pub The Percy Arms (Percy being the family name of the Northumberlands) built in the 1880s. It was to become a hostelry with stables and a public house opposite the railway station. The primary school was also built in 1873, together with the post office.

The Old Manor House — Chilworth, Surrey
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