These historic properties in the county have been lovingly restored and fitted with all the comforts a 21st-century buyer could desire.
Historic links with some of the great West Sussex estates of which they were once part provide an intriguing backdrop to the sale of several good family houses currently on the market in the county, although one or two have been renovated in ways that traditional country-house buyers may find challenging.
According to local records, ownership of Grade II*-listed The Old House (Fig 1) at Lodsworth, four miles from Midhurst, for sale through the Haslemere office of Knight Frank (01428 770560) at a guide price of £3.85 million, can be traced to the early 1500s, when John Hollist inherited lands in Lodsworth. The family gradually increased their holdings and, by the early 1700s, were among the largest landowners in the parish. In 1701, the lands passed to another John Hollist, who, following his marriage in 1727, rebuilt the existing house, but retained the south-west corner with its massive chimney stack.
He and his wife had 13 children, but no grandchildren, and the line died out in the next generation. The estate then passed to a distant relative, who assumed the name of Hollist. In 1836, his son, Hasler, inherited the property and immediately set about improving it. He built a new family seat, Lodsworth House, designed by the country- house architect Edward Blore, and his 113-year-old former seat became known as The Old House.
In the early 20th century, The Old House was leased to a succession of tenants before being bought, with the rest of the Lodsworth estate, by the then tenant of Lodsworth House, who sold The Old House on in 1937. Listed Grade II* in 1959, it was known as The Dower House for several decades, during which time it was apparently altered in a number of ‘inappropriate’ ways. Many of these were rectified by Mr and Mrs Barry Whitaker, who owned The Old House from 1995 to 2007, when it was bought by its present owners, Mr and Mrs Tim Rodber.
One of the best village houses within the picturesque South Downs National Park, The Old House, set in almost an acre of immaculate landscaped gardens, has been restored with some flair by its cosmopolitan owners, who have managed to stamp their evidently lively personalities on the house, despite its formidable listing.
Notable additions include the spectacular orangery (Fig 2), a luxurious first-floor master suite with his-and- her dressing rooms, and two American- style second-floor bedrooms, all designed to make the most of the views.
The rejuvenated 6,000sq ft house now boasts four main reception rooms, a splendid kitchen/breakfast room, a wine store, a gym, eight bedrooms and five bathrooms. Other goodies include a recently renovated two- bedroom cottage, a traditional barn with lapsed planning consent for conversion and a secluded swimming pool area with a large terrace area and—oh, joy!—a pizza oven.
Also for sale through Knight Frank (01428 770560), at a guide price of £2.5m, is pretty Heytotts Farm (Fig 4) at nearby River, a quintessential West Sussex hamlet within the sought-after Lodsworth-Lickfold-Lurgashall ‘golden triangle’, nine miles from Haslemere mainline station.
A Grade II-listed, 17th-century building with unusually good ceiling heights for a house of its period, it stands in 1½ acres of beautifully maintained gardens with glorious views over the National Park.
The beautifully renovated, 3,130sq ft house has three main reception rooms, a large kitchen/breakfast room, four/ five bedrooms and two bath/shower rooms. It comes with a one-bedroom cottage and an array of traditional farm buildings with obvious potential for conversion. The vendors have already secured planning consent to add an orangery leading out from the kitchen/breakfast room.
Also located within the South Downs National Park is Lower Farm (Fig 3) at Madehurst, near Arundel, an impressively-restored Arts-and-Crafts gem, once part of the important Dale Park estate—one of a series of historic landed estates between Chichester and Arundel that includes Halnaker, Goodwood, Eartham and Slindon. For sale through the Chichester office of Strutt & Parker (01243 832600) at a guide price of £3.75m, Lower Farm has been the much-loved family home of Jane Thorp and her husband, an architect, for the past 32 years.
The house, which sits in a forgotten valley on the edge of the tiny village of Madehurst, had been split into two when, in 1983, they bought half the house, expecting the other half to follow it onto the market. ‘In fact, we had to wait 11 years to acquire the rest of the house, after which we set about putting it all back together again,’ reveals Mrs Thorp, for whom the process has been a painstaking labour of love.
Built in the early 1900s of knapped flint with brick quoins and part-timbered façades under a clay-tile roof, the house has been refurbished with the conservation of its many original features always in mind: one of the most striking is the carved Arts-and- Crafts oak staircase in the hall. The attention to detail is also evident in the three main reception rooms, especially the large panelled dining room, with its window seat overlooking the garden, and the bright and cheerful morning room next door.
Upstairs, the generous landing space has been used to create a library and a music room. The master bedroom suite, which also has views of the grounds and surrounding woodland, has been cleverly modernised to provide maximum space and comfort. Lower Farm’s 8,730sq ft of living space includes four further bedrooms, two bathrooms and a shower room on the first floor and a second floor comprising a self-contained flat, with an open-plan kitchen and living area, and a large bedroom with a bathroom en-suite.