Great Baynden is a superb Kent house that's full of the sort of touches you'd hope to see when moving to a period home in the country, as Penny Churchill explains.
From the 16th century onwards, hop-growing was a major source of income in the Weald of Kent, especially around the village of Horsmonden, eight miles east of Tun-bridge Wells, where an enthusiastic American visitor described how ‘the oast-house towers of Horsmonden seem almost to plough the rich soil of their Kentish hopfield like graceful yachts on a gently rolling sea’.
Such is the backdrop to handsome, Grade II-listed Great Baynden in School House Lane, Horsmonden, which stands on high ground two miles north-east of the village, with panoramic views over the Weald to the North Downs. It’s for sale through the Cranbrook office of Savills at a guide price of £3.65m.
This delightful former farmstead comprises a beautifully refurbished main house of the 16th century or earlier with 20th-century additions, a traditional timber-frame Kentish barn, garaging, workshops and, to the north-east of the main house, a detached two-bedroom oast house with a private garden, which is currently let.
In his writings on Kent, the 18th-century historian, Edward Hasted, described the property as ‘a gentleman’s seat under the name of Baynden owned by Sir Charles Booth of Stedehill, deceased’.
However, its farming credentials came to the fore in 1790, when, according to local records, one Samuel Small was renting ‘a sizeable farm called Great Baynden in Horsmonden for £24 a year’. As recently as 1992, when the property was owned by Maj John Orbach, it was still known as Smalls Farm, although no Smalls had lived there since 1819.
The present vendors, for whom Great Baynden has been a much-loved family home, have sympathetically renovated the main house, which offers more than 7,142sq ft of living space, including four reception rooms, a large Plain English kitchen/breakfast room, nine bedrooms and four bath/shower rooms.
They have also created and maintained Great Baynden’s enchanting gardens, merging formal and informal areas with shingle pathways, borders of lavender and box hedging.
Having discovered the joys of working from home earlier in the year, the owners decided not to renew the lease on their London business premises, which expired during lockdown, selling agent Will Peppitt reveals.
With their children now well on their way, they plan to enjoy being ‘footloose and fancy free for a while’ by downsizing to a smaller house in the area, so another family can make the most of Great Baynden’s gardens, kitchen garden, tennis court and swimming pool, some 4½ acres in all.
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