Spectacular gothic architecture, sublime gardens from the 1800's and centuries of rich history meet at Oxney Court in Margarets-at-Cliffe, in Dover.
The fascinating history of Oxney Court long precedes the current property’s 17th century beginnings (not to mention its fresh appearance on the property market at £6.5m), with records showing a house on the site hundreds of years prior.
The small parish of Oxney was in fact first recorded in a charter in 1038, and then a few years later in the Doomsday Book.
Further references to the property are included Hasted’s account of Kent, Thomas Philpott’s 17th century survey of Kent and the 1825 series on Gentleman’s seats by J P Neale in 1825.
Early records show that the house belonged to the Auberville family, where it is believed to have remained in their ownership until the reign of Henry VII. After which time, it was purchased by John Smedley who carried out some work on the property before a bold gothic style was introduced by The Jeken family in 1764.
Further changes were made to the vast, castellated property in the 19th century for John May — a man who prospered from the Napoleonic wars; and a newspaper advertisement article for the auction of Oxney Court in 1901 describes the then 17 bedroom, 865 acre estate as ‘a moderate-sized Mansion of early English design, approached by a long carriage drive and two entrance lodges.’
In 1907, Oxney house was used as a prep school, before being requisitioned by the Army During World War I.
Not long after, the property suffered a damaging fire which left it is a state of disrepair. Many attempts were made to restore Oxney Court over the 20th century, however, it wasn’t until 1997 that planning was considered appropriate and ‘the owners obtained permission for a sympathetic reconstruction of the mansion house, and implemented a careful programme of restoration and improvement to restore the house to the highest quality.’
The Grade ll listed Baronial Gothic Manor House — on the market via Sotheby’s for £6.5 million is the result of years of hard work and dedication to restore the original Manor House. It comes complete with 35 acres of grounds plus an additional a four bed family cottage and two bed staff cottage.
The main living space is presented over three floors, each room showcasing a combination of high level architecture and fascinating gothic elements.
The result, as described by the agents is a private, ‘rare and beautiful house’ which makes ‘the most wonderful environment for living and entertaining.’
The fantastic gardens and grounds that surround the property were planted during the 19th century by Joseph Banks — the nephew of the owners. Banks was well known for introducing exotic plants to England and his later work at Kew Gardens.
Many rare specimen trees remain today and help to further showcase the deep level of history that Oxney Court is built upon.
Also within the grounds is an incredible tree house — complete with rope bridges, plus a hobbit house. An outdoor oak dining room houses a fireplace and kitchen, making it the perfect entertaining space.
It is clear to see the dedication and hard work that has gone into Oxney Court, which Sotheby’s describe as creating a property that ‘is a gracious and tranquil oasis in which to retreat.’
St Margarets-at-Cliffe: What you need to know
Location: St Margaret’s Bay is a coastal village, spread over rural Kent farmland. The closest rail stations are located in Martin Mill and Dover Priory, offering Southeastern services. Dover is located just over 5 miles away, and the Eurotunnel at Folkstone is 15 miles.
Atmosphere: Hailed as the hidden gem of White Cliffs County, the village is well equipped with amenities, thanks to its year-round visitors.
Things to do: There are countless activities and attractions to keep everyone entertained. Visit England’s closet pub to France – The Coastguard, and the many tearooms and cafe’s in the area. Explore the breathtaking coastline either on foot or by bike, or venture further inland to the Kent Downs. The area is also a haven for bird watching, and keen swimmers (and spectators alike) can watch those brave enough to cross the Chanel, leave from the starting point at St Margaret’s Bay beach.
Schools: Portal House School, St Margaret’s-at-Cliffe Primary School and Duke of York’s Royal Military School all received either ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ ratings in ofsted reviews. There are numerous options for secondary, too, including Dover College, Astor College and Dover Grammar School for Girls.
Catch up on the best country houses for sale this week that have come to the market via Country Life.