A ‘Perfect’ country estate has come onto the market in Kent, with a Queen Anne house much admired by Pevsner
Simper and less ornate than buildings of the late-17th-century Jacobean period, more graceful and more decorative than those of the Georgian era, the distinctive small manors built during Queen Anne’s brief reign from 1702 to 1714, remain among the most sought-after of English country houses.
Described by Pevsner as ‘a perfect example of a Queen Anne house’, seen from a distance, Leacon Hall at Warehorne in Kent looks every inch ‘a country house in miniature’, says William Peppitt of Savills (020–7016 3789), who quotes a guide price of £3.25 million for the Grade II*-listed hall, with its idyllic 57-acre estate, handily located 71⁄2 miles from both Tenterden and Ashford.
Importantly, at a time when the implications of the new Stamp Duty (SDLT) regime are still being absorbed by the country-house market, anyone buying the Leacon Hall estate may well be able to benefit from the 4% rate of SDLT applicable to ‘mixed use’ properties, Mr Peppitt suggests.
Alternatively, the estate can be bought in up to four lots, with the main house, the converted oast house and lodge and the wonderful gardens and grounds created with input from landscape architects Marian Boswall and the late Anthony du Gard Pasley being offered separately from the farmland.
Elegant Leacon Hall was built in 1708 by the self-styled ‘gentleman and grazier’ Thomas Hodges, who supplemented his farming income with a rather more profitable trade in smuggling French brandy into England —an occupation that locals say funded the building of many a grand house in the area at that time.
The hall stands on a low hill called The Leacon, which looks out across Romney Marsh and towards Dungeness, not far from the ports of Rye and New Romney. Hodges had two small windows built into the roof, one facing east towards Dungeness, the other facing west, at which candles would be lit to help guide the smugglers across the 12 miles of dangerous marshland between the coast and the house. He also commissioned a local craftsman—who had painted the Royal Arms and prayer boards in the Church of St Matthew, Warehorne— to paint the arch to the main staircase depicting a lion and a unicorn that still survives, with the initials ‘K H’ and the date 1708
During their 10-year tenure, the present owners of Leacon Hall have sympathetically refurbished the property while preserving its historic character and integrity. Typical Queen Anne features abound: high ceilings, heavy painted panelled doors with deep architraves and brass door furniture, sash windows, working shutters, exposed wood flooring and panelling and period-style radiators.
Leacon Hall’s manageable 8,288sq ft of living space includes an impressive reception hall, four fine reception rooms, a spacious master suite, seven further bedrooms and three bathrooms. The gardens are a captivating mix of styles—formal lawns flanked by beech hedging, deep herbaceous borders planted for year- round colour, an Italian garden and a walled garden—and, screened from the house by beech and yew hedging, a heated saline swimming pool with a paved surround edged with mature lavender is an irresistible magnet for bees and butterflies.
All the rooms benefit from the typical high ceilings, large sash windows and abundance of natural light which characterises the Queen Anne style, and the house has been kept in excellent condition, and refurbished as required, by successive owners through the years.
In addition to the main house, The Lodge offers further accommodation in the form of an open-plan kitchen/sitting room, two bedrooms (one en-suite), and a family bathroom. The very pretty oast house offers an open kitchen/dining room, sitting room, three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a small private garden.
Two separate lots of land are block of arable land of approximately 20 acres to the north and an area of arable land and woodland extending to about 25 acres.
The asking price is £3.25m. Contact Strutt & Parker on 01227 319798 or visit http://countrylife.onthemarket.com.