Having formed an important part of Hythe since 1773, The Watermill is a stunning example of Georgian architecture which has stood the test of time.
Appearing on the market for the first time in 40 years — testament to the property’s soul, allure and overall appeal — is The Watermill, a beautiful former mill located in the heart of Hythe, on the coast of Kent, which has been a focal part of the town since 1773.
The property is currently on the market via Savills with a guide price of £1.8 million. Prior to this sale, the mill has only changed hands three times over the past 170 years — further proof that it is a unique house, worthy of owners who have dedicated time, effort and love into restoring it.
Before The Watermill, another mill was situated on the site, known as the Damer’s Mill, which was documented on Thomas Hill’s hospital map of 1685.
Records show that The Watermill was owned by local miller George Burch in 1850. His eldest daughter inherited the property and ran a school out of the sitting room of the mill, whilst his youngest daughter helped with the day-to-day running of the mill up until her death in 1932. Milling ceased, and the property was put up for auction on 27th August 1932.
Later that year, the mill was bought by Stuart Brown who would own it for the following 50 years. During his time, he rented part of the mill to Australian-born impressionist artist Arthur Baker-Clack, who had a studio in the Uppermill.
The Uppermill lies to the north of the main house, and was originally part of the granary store. It was converted in the late 80’s into a holiday let and is a completely self-contained dwelling with access to a sizeable terrace with views over the top half of the garden and mill pond.
But back to the history — Over the next 50 years, the property fell into a state of disrepair; that is, until the Marston family bought the property in 1982 and spent the next 10 years painstakingly renovating not only the main house and the Uppermill, but also — most impressively — the original mill. After a 60-year period, the water-wheel was back in motion and flour was milled again.
Their massive efforts didn’t go unnoticed, and the family were awarded the Hythe Civic Award for their contribution to the town as well as the Shepway’s Building Design Award for the entire restoration.
Today, the five-bed, Grade II listed property offers lovely accommodation with fantastic flexibility thanks to the Uppermill which can be used as either a holiday let or private ancillary accommodation. Many of the original features are apparent — exposed brick fireplaces, wood burning stoves and overhead beams — but most notably, the mill machinery (which is not currently in working order).
The gardens and mill pond surrounding the property are nothing short of sublime and have previously been opened to the public. A mixture of evergreen trees and raised beds meet with stretches of lawn which are interjected by the stream. Stone bridges pass over the water at various points, and at the northern end of the garden is a cascading waterfall.
(We told you it was sublime).
Hythe: What you need to know
Location: The coastal town is located on the edge of the Romney Marsh on the south coast of Kent. Folkestone is just 4.5 miles along the coast to the east where the Eurotunnel connects with Calais, and Dover is around 13 miles. Sandling station links with Ashford station which offers high speed links to London in just 37 minutes.
Atmosphere: The market town is one of the historic coastal Cinque Ports, formed originally in the 12th century for military and trading purposes. With a bustling high street full of independent shops and restaurants, plus an eclectic mix of Georgian buildings and a Victorian promenade, the town has plenty to offer.
Things to do: Explore the 28 mile stretch along the Royal Military Canal with its many walking and cycle routes. Rowing boats can be rented during the summer months to explore via water. Within the town is a lawn tennis club, cricket and squash club, bowling and skate park. A wide selection of water sports is also on offer — including the Hythe and Saltwood Sailing Club; and golfers can swing their clubs at a number of local clubs including Sene Valley Golf Club and Rye Golf Club.
Schools: There’s plenty to choose from in the area with Ashford School, Highworth Grammar School, The Norton Knatchbull for Boys in Ashford, The Kings School in Canterbury, Sutton Valence prep and senior schools and Homewood School in Tenterden.
Catch up on the best country houses for sale this week that have come to the market via Country Life.