I don’t know about you, but I quite fancy myself as a Lady of the Manor. Lady Chatterley, Lady Mary… they got it right didn’t they? Hot gamekeepers chasing after them, the biggest decision of the day whether to wear pearls or diamonds… I could get used to that. Plus, I think Lady Muddy has a certain ring to it.
Well, I think I’ve found my Downton Abbey. And as always, we’re going to have a bit of fun with it. I’ll drip feed you the odd clue and photo, and all you have to do is work out how much wonga you’re going to need to slap down in order to secure the keys. Before you know it Carson will be waking you up with a cup of Earl Grey and a lightly toasted crumpet.
Shall we begin? (you know you don’t really win the house, right? Just the glory. Ok, I might throw in the hot gamekeeper). Can you hear your heels crunching on the drive, above?
Winkenhurst Manor sits on the edge of the pretty village of Hellingly, near Hailsham. Obviously as Lady of the manor you’ll need to brush up on your horsemanship. Well there’ll be no problem either walking the dog or taking the ponies out for a hack as you’ve got the the rolling East Sussex countryside on your doorstep. You’ve got fab shopping in Heathfield and a little further away, Tunbridge Wells, as well as good access to all major road and rail routes (Polegate station being the nearest) and Gatwick just over 50 mins away.
Plus, Lord Muddy can whack a few golf balls just up the road at Wellshurst Golf Club, or perhaps he’d like to try his hand at motor racing at Brands Hatch or Goodwood? Oh, and you’ll want to keep the sailing boat at Bewl Water.
So you’ve got your bearings, now shall we see a bit more house?
What we have here is a stunning Grade II listed, Regency, country house originally dating back to the 18th century with later additions and fabulous modern modifications. The main house is elegant and spacious and boasts loads of original features – like this beautiful period inglenook fireplace, above. The drawing room extends the width of the house with French doors to a courtyard at the side.
There also an excellent orangery, above, which provides a spectacular dining room. Another added bonus is the very large basement, which houses a boot room, boiler room, china room, store room (of course you won’t be going down there – you’ll have staff) and an excellent laundry room (again, not for you Lady).
On the first floor you’ll find the double aspect master bedroom with an en-suite bathroom and dressing room. There is a guest bedroom suite and a further bedroom on this floor.
Pass me my towel please Carson. I’m ready to see the rest of the house… A ‘secret door’ leads to the rear of the house where there is an office/bedroom, bathroom and a further bedroom and en-suite dressing room and a back staircase arriving in the sitting room.
So are you getting a handle on the price yet? Let’s count those bedrooms – that might help. There are 7 in total – yes really. Five in the main house and a further two bedroom suites in the beautifully refurbished former stable building which has been converted to further accommodation with its own kitchen/breakfast room, cloakroom and reception room.
So, plenty of sleepover space for wild party guests, great aunt so-and-so and/or the au pair’s boyfriend.
Ah, my favourite bit… the grounds! The drive winds past a duck pond on one side and a paddock on the other. There’s about 4 acres in total here. Beautiful lawns surrounding the actual house, with two courtyard gardens, including that stunning Mediterranean-inspired one, for obligatory al fresco dining.
Right then have you digested, cogitated and got a price in mind? Are you ready for the big reveal? Let’s see if you were right! Then you can finally take your seat at the head of the house as Lady Winkenhurst and start chasing that tasty gamekeeper round the grounds.