Combe Florey House is a superb example of an exquisitely designed, historic family home with 21st century entertainment at its core.
Whilst 2021 saw the introduction of many things — covid variants, billionaires floating in space and world leaders gathering to discuss climate change — but in the world of property, it felt like the major trend was the rise of the converted outbuildings dedicated to entertaining. 2021 might have been the Year of the Ox for Chinese astrologers, but for estate agents it was the Year of the Party Barn.
All of which transports us to the depths of Somerset, near the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Exmoor National Park, where you’ll find Combe Florey House. It’s a regal 18th century Elizabethan manor house, composed of red ashlar sandstone (in the style of renowned architect James Gibbs) that has some of the most spectacular views over the surrounding luscious green countryside we’ve come across.
The 12-bed, seven bath property is currently on the market via Strutt & Parker for offers in excess of £5 million, which also includes the sale of a three bed cottage within the grounds known as The Keepers Cottage.
A manor house has been on the site for many centuries, but the previous building was destroyed in the Civil War, and the present 17th century house was extensively remodelled by William Frauncies in 1730. The property was sold to the Perring family in 1799 and sold again in 1896 to the Batchelor family before being purchased by the writer Evelyn Waugh as his family home in 1956.
Waugh died ten years later, but his family lived here until 2008 when the present owners acquired Combe Florey House.
The property is nothing short of impressive, with an enormous footprint measuring just under 22,000 sq ft (including outbuildings) and approximately 35 acres of garden and grounds.
Combe Florey House’s appearance onto the housing market is an exciting prospect, as selling agent Oliver Custance Baker from Strutt & Parker’s Exeter office says:
‘It’s rare to find a house of such good stature, standard and significance as Combe Florey House, and one with such a fascinating and rich history. There’s a lot to offer here for potential buyers, it has everything when it comes to the perfect family home with a tennis court, swimming pool, party barn and land.’
[You heard that too, of course? Party barn. Anyway, let’s let Oliver continue:]
‘As with many Georgian country homes, their proportions and elegance stand the test of time making them well suited to modern family life. The house today follows the traditional floorplan but has been adapted to 21st century living with an impressive orangery added to create a communal heart of the home.’
Inside, the rooms maintain their grand 18th century proportions with tall ceilings and generous layouts, whilst the balance between formal entertaining spaces and more familiar family living areas create a superb symmetry within the home. The large orangery on the ground floor acts as a ‘central hub’ and helps to further connect the formal and informal spaces.
An almost never-ending list of outbuildings can be found within the grounds, including the Keepers Cottage, workshops, garages, fuel stores and dog kennels — many of which can be found around a central courtyard that is enclosed by carriage gates and flanking walls.
There is also a swimming pool, pool room, tennis court and the aforementioned party barn, demonstrating a fine balance of old and new that is mirrored elsewhere — not least in the bedrooms, where you’ll find freestanding baths amid the most traditional country decor.
Combe Florey House is an impressive, beautifully presented, large family home with exquisite original period details and a huge amount of outdoor space to play with. Its layout makes it perfect for entertaining whilst being tucked up in one of Somerset’s most private and beautiful corners.
Combe Florey: What you need to know
Location: In Somerset, 6 miles from Taunton, near the Quantock Hills and West Somerset Railway. The nearest train station is located at Taunton which runs a direct service to London Paddington.
Atmosphere: Within the village is a local pub — The Farmers Arms, a village hall and 13th century church.
Things to do: Train enthusiasts can visit the West Somerset Steam Railway which travels through 20 miles of scenic rural landscape. The Exmoor National Park and Quantock Hills provide great opportunities to get out and explore either by foot, bike or on horseback, or partake in country sports such as fishing and shooting. There are several golf courses within the area, and nearby Taunton is home to a cricket ground plus recreational and leisure facilities.
Schools: There are many great schools within the area including King’s College Taunton, Taunton School, Queen’s College Taunton and Wellington School.
See more property for sale in the area.
Catch up on the best country houses for sale this week that have come to the market via Country Life.