Country houses for sale

A gorgeous old rectory which featured in a Thomas Hardy Novel, for sale in one of Dorset’s most deliciously-named villages

Melbury Bubb House is up for sale in a tiny village in Dorset. Penny Churchill takes a look.

Is there a more pleasing village name in England than ‘Melbury Bubb’? Just the sound of it seems to bring a smile to the face and a glow to the soul; where else but England could such a place exist?

Thought to have been the inspiration for Great Hintock in Thomas Hardy’s The Woodlanders, this village is a charming little spot. And we mean little quite literally: it had a population of 40, at the last official count. If you fancy adding to that number, there is good news: Savills are selling Melbury Bubb House, also known as The Old Rectory, with a guide price of £2.65m.

Melbury Bubb House has a large kitchen/breakfast room with an electric Aga, various reception rooms, a playroom and seven bedrooms, the majority of which have views over the garden and surrounding countryside.

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From the outside dining terrace, there are 180˚ views over lightly wooded hills.

The gardens, which extend to a little over four acres, feature large expanses of lawn fringed with well-stocked borders. A paddock to the east is well fenced and hedged — suitable for either horses or stock.

To the south is a range of seven stables and Moon Daisy, a building equipped with two offices and a meeting room. Another outbuilding houses an indoor swimming pool.

With so much space and in such a quiet spot, selling agent Ashley Rawlings believes Melbury Bubb House is ideal for a family. ‘I particularly like the fact that access to the village is via a no-through road,’ he adds.

The house is late Georgian in origin with Victorian additions — and the building itself apparently appears in Hardy’s novel. It is the house where the wandering Edred Fitzpiers lived; his eventual wife, Grace Melbury, lived opposite in what is now called The Manor House.

The whole area feels like it could exist in a previous time — and, in a charming throwback to another era, there is a railway-platform halt at Chetnole, lying just across the fields, which provides a rail service to Bristol, Weymouth and Paddington. Anyone wanting to board must wave to the train driver.

Melbury Bubb House is for sale via Savills at £2.65m — see more details and pictures.