The country-house market in Hampshire powered ahead of west Berkshire, Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire in the third quarter of the year, reports Bobby Hall of search agents The Buying Solution. According to Mr Hall, Hampshire currently dominates the region’s market for houses valued at more than £1 million, and for houses in the £1m to £2m price bracket in particular. ‘This is largely because most people are buying for schooling in this area. On the other hand, those looking for more expensive houses, who are buying for lifestyle reasons, are choosing to hold on.’
This conservative approach probably explains the lack of progress to date of handsome, Grade II*-listed Beaurepaire Park near Basingstoke, which launched in Country Life in June at a guide price of £8m through Knight Frank (020-7629 8171), but has so far failed to find a buyer. Selling agent Will Matthews is not entirely surprised. ‘The market for houses in the £2m to £4.5m price bracket is still very active, but it’s tough going for large country properties valued at £6m or more. There’s plenty of money around, but people are in no great hurry to part with it,’ he explains.
Happily, the vendors of Beaurepaire Park (pictured) are in no great hurry to sell, and rightly so. Set in the middle of its 249-acre estate, surrounded by ancient parkland, woods, lakes, paddocks, farmland and immaculate formal gardens, historic Beaurepaire House was the seat of the Brocas family for 500 years from 1353. The house was visited by Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, but, during the Civil War, suffered considerable damage at the hands of Cromwell’s Round-heads, before being rebuilt in 1777. Partly destroyed by fire in 1942, when it was owned by the mega-rich Sir Strati Ralli, it was later remodelled to form the house as it stands today.
Approached by a private, mile-long drive, the 9,000sq ft house sits grandly behind its water-filled moat, protected by ornate gates designed by Sir John Soane. It has 4-5 fine reception rooms, a kitchen/breakfast room, master and guest suites, five more bedrooms, three bathrooms and a cloistered rear courtyard, plus three cottages, stabling and an outdoor manège.
George Clarendon of Knight Frank’s Winchester office (01962 850333) may have an easier ride with Hurst Farmhouse at Privett, near Froxfield, six miles from Petersfield, a charming, 153-acre estate set within the boundaries of the new South Downs National Park. Launched in late September at a guide price of £4.25m, the traditional Georgian farmhouse, which is unlisted, is for sale for the first time in 19 years, following the owners’ decision to downsize.
The 5,468sq ft house has a delightful staircase hall, five reception rooms, master and guest suites, four further bedrooms and two further bath-rooms. Outbuildings include a courtyard with a two-bedroom cottage, barns and stabling, and mature gardens include a heated swimming pool and a hard tennis court. Well away from the house, a range of brick-and-flint buildings has been converted into seven commercial units, let to provide a substantial income of some £60,000-£65,000 a year. The holding comprises 84.7 acres of agricultural land farmed on a contract basis, and 68 acres of conifer woodland interspersed with magnificent beech trees.
The owners of charming, Grade II-listed Tithe Barn in the friendly east Hampshire village of Newnham, near Hook, five miles from Basingstoke, are downsizing after 40 years to move to a smaller house nearby. Tithe Barn is not, as its name suggests, a conversion of an ancient barn, but a 17th-century country house with 19th-century additions, that stands in a landmark, four-acre setting just off the village green, and a short step from the celebrated Old House at Home pub run by Henry Blofeld’s daughter.
Timber-framed Tithe Barn has 4,445sq ft of living space, including three reception rooms, a kitchen/breakfast room, seven bedrooms, two bathrooms, a second-floor office and two attic rooms. At the opposite end of the site is a detached two-bedroom cottage with two original stables and an integral garage. The house has been much cherished by its owners, Thomas and Valerie Buckley, but they also leave a ‘fantastic legacy’ in the lovely garden they have created over the years, says Chris Nicklin of Strutt & Parker (01256 702892), who quotes a guide price of £2.25m.
The circumstances surrounding the sale of the magical Upper Mill House at Longparish, near Andover, are more poignant. The purchase of the Grade II-listed mill in its idyllic setting on the banks of the Upper Test was a dream come true for the young family, who moved there from London some six years ago. But no sooner had they completed a major restoration of the mill and its outbuildings than the present owner’s husband died suddenly, leaving her to soldier on alone. Two years on, she has decided to call it a day and Upper Mill House is for sale through Jackson-Stops & Staff (01962 844299) at a guide price of £4.85m.
The mill house and its buildings, set in 12 acres of waterside gardens and water-meadows, dat-ing from the 16th century, were rebuilt in the 1870s, worked until 1906, and have since been restored to full working order. The 5,232sq ft, three-storey main house has four superb reception rooms, a large kitchen/ breakfast room, six bedrooms and five bath/shower rooms. ‘It is rare indeed to find such a special house with fishing on the Upper Test, arguably the best chalk-stream in England, if not the world,’ comments selling agent Philip Blanchard.
The wonders of Winchester, with its 18 first-class schools, wonderful Georgian architecture and one-hour commute to Waterloo, are well known to Londoners seeking the ideal mix of town and country living. But with many of the town’s classic houses owned by Winchester College, it’s extremely unusual to find a substantial family house for sale within the central St Thomas Street conservation area. Previously run as a holistic medicine centre, Grade II-listed Well House at 13, St Thomas Street has been beautifully restored as a private house, with five reception rooms, a kitchen/breakfast room, six bedrooms, three bath/shower rooms, formal and kitchen gardens, and extensive off-street parking. Savills (01962 841842) quote a guide price of £3m.
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