Country houses for sale

An 18th century watermill that was home to the man who made millions from Reader’s Digest

Victor Ross made his money not from entering one of those prize draws, but from publishing the magazine itself — and he used his success to buy and restore the beautiful Worten Mill in Kent.

In deepest Kent, water and woodland dominate the setting of picturesque Worten Mill at Great Chart, four miles from Ashford International station and 15 miles from Canterbury, which has come to the market through Strutt & Parker with a guide price of £2.25m.

Situated in a magical rural location just outside the popular village of Great Chart, Worten Mill, listed Grade II, is thought to stand on the site of one of the first recorded watermills in Britain and is mentioned in the Domesday Book.

The property comprises the 18th-century former miller’s house and the ancient mill building, now a single, six-bedroom family home, with the mill race and wheel forming a distinctive feature of the building. Worten Mill Cottage is a detached three-bedroom cottage with its own private garden.

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For the past 14 years, Worten Mill has been a much-loved holiday home shared by several Belgian families, who bought it lock, stock and barrel from the late Victor Ross, the legendary former chairman of Reader’s Digest, who restored the entire property and lived there for 40 years, selling agent Simon Backhouse reveals.

A wide, panelled oak door opens into the reception hall that has windows at floor level overlooking the mill pond, with stairs from the hall leading up to an impressive fitted library with an adjoining study.

The part full-height drawing room has an unusual demi-lune window overlooking the mill pond and wide steps leading down to the main reception space, where ancient timbers create a cathedral-like atmosphere. The adjoining dining room has a wide inglenook fireplace; the morning room overlooks the pond to the rear.

Sitting astride the River Stour, which meanders through the grounds of more than four acres, the gardens, originally designed by Russell Page, are a delight. The front garden is informally laid out with a number of paths and bridges criss-crossing the river.

To the rear, the garden is dominated by the mill pond, with further pathways and walks creating an ambience of peace and enchantment.

Worten Mill is for sale at a guide price of £2.25m — see more details and pictures.


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