As spectacular on the inside as it is from the out, Ulcombe Place is a beautifully presented home, believed to date from the 13th century. Penny Churchill takes a look.
In the Garden of England, Edward Church of Strutt & Parker in Canterbury quotes a guide price of £3m for heavenly Grade II-listed Ulcombe Place, near Maidstone, which stands on high ground next to the 12th-century parish church of Ulcombe on the Greensand Ridge of the Kent Downs, with glorious views across the High Weald AONB.
Ulcombe Place boasts impeccable ecclesiastical connections, having been owned by Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury between 1207 and 1228, who founded a monastic college on the site in the 13th century.
The house is thought to have been a priory connected to Ulcombe Church. More recently, St John Newman is understood to have visited Ulcombe Place and penned several poems relating to the house and church.
The property remained with the Langton family until the 15th century and the main building dates from that period. Owned in the Tudor era by the St Leger family, Ulcombe Place was largely altered in the 18th century, before the Revd Theodore Butler may have added the signature verandah in late-Victorian or Edwardian times.
The informal plantsman’s garden was probably laid out in the Victorian era.
Built using traditional Kent ragstone, Ulcombe Place is a gracious family house with beautifully proportioned rooms set in delightful grounds that include a swimming pool within a walled garden.
In all, it boasts 6,515sq ft of accommodation including three/four reception rooms, a study, large kitchen/dining room, various utilities, seven bedrooms (two ensuite) and three bathrooms, plus a one-bedroom staff or guest annexe.
Mr Church comments: ‘Ulcombe Place is a substantial stone house, with parts dating back to the 13th century, but with Georgian and Queen Anne additions — an architecture rarely seen in this part of the county where most houses are timber-frame. It occupies an unbeatable position on the Greensand Way, one of many historic houses built close to the natural springs that abound in these parts.’
Ulcombe: What you need to know
Location: Ulcombe is a village located approximately 30 minutes from Maidstone in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The nearest train station is in Harrietsham which offers southeastern services.
Atmosphere: The rural village has a local pub, church and primary School, whilst nearby Kingswood has further in the way of amenities, including a post office.
Things to do: Take a trip to Leeds Castle, or visit Maidstone for the day and take a tours and walk through the Vineyards, visit award-winning Mote Park (complete with 450 acres and a 30 acre lake) or hire a self-drive boat and explore the River Medway.
Schools: Ulcombe Church of England Primary School and Kingswood Primary School are both rated ‘good’ in Ofsted reviews. Maidstone Grammar School and Valley Park School are local secondary options.
Catch up on the best country houses for sale this week that have come to the market via Country Life.