The substantial Georgian red bricked property — located just half a mile from Winchester high street — has had many lives. Today, it stands as a single property, having been renovated to the highest possible standards to create a luxurious and timeless family home.
As many home-buyers who bought their dream house in the ‘race for space’ of 2020 have already discovered, finding an electrician, plumber, carpenter or builder to carry out even the simplest of repairs or renovations is currently the stuff of nightmares — yet that’s not going to be a problem for the next owners of the stunning Abbey House in Winchester, on the market at £3.4m.
It’s a situation that will take time to resolve, says Liam Bailey, head of research at Knight Frank, who expects that ‘delays in the delivery of building materials and inflated building costs will continue to affect the market next year, with completion dates pushed forward, construction postponed or schemes put on hold. Delivery times for construction materials have increased sharply as supply chains struggle to keep pace with demand’.
The reverse side of the coin is that ‘oven-ready’ properties, especially historic or listed buildings that have been renovated to high standards of construction and design, will continue to command a premium in the coming year.
The cathedral city of Winchester is rightly proud of its rich architectural heritage and its planning and conservation laws are among the strictest in the UK.
But it’s all grist to the mill of Julian Long, managing director of Winchester-based Lonmer Construction, a family-owned firm of builders and designers that specialises in the renovation and rebuilding of listed urban and farm buildings.
His firm recently completed the renovation and restoration of Grade II*-listed Hyde Abbey House in the Hyde area of the city, a place name synonymous with Alfred the Great, whose bones were moved to Hyde Abbey in 1110.
Once the most northerly of the old city suburbs, Hyde grew up alongside the old Roman road to Silchester. Hyde Abbey House is located in Hyde Street to the north of Winchester’s bustling High Street and within easy walking distance of the city’s mainline station, which provides frequent fast services to London Waterloo.
Built of red brick under a tiled dormer roof, the landmark 8,155sq ft house dates from the 17th century and was re-fronted in the late 18th century with a Classical Georgian façade, since when it has been reincarnated a number of times.
In the 18th century, the building was home to the independent Hyde Abbey School, founded by the Revd Reynell Cotton in about 1760; its many distinguished pupils included high-ranking soldiers, sailors, bishops and politicians.
In 1795, Sir John Soane built a dedicated schoolroom for the school—reputedly his only building in Winchester.
By 1847, however, the school had closed and its building leased out as the first Hampshire Museum. From 1950 to 1975, it was a private hotel and restaurant and later used as offices, until planning permission was granted by Winchester City Council to change its use to a single family home.
Unquestionably one of the city’s grandest homes, Hyde Abbey House offers beautifully proportioned accommodation on three floors including reception and staircase halls, four downstairs reception rooms, a kitchen/breakfast room, magnificent first-floor drawing room of 1620 with painted panelling and a carved frieze, a principal bedroom suite with two dressing rooms, six further bedrooms and four bath/shower rooms.
It comes with landscaped walled gardens, private parking for six cars and planning consent for a double garage. Joint agents Knight Frank and Jackson-Stops quote a guide price of £3.4 million.
Winchester: What you need to know
Location: On the edge of the South Downs National Park, approximately 13 miles north of Southhampton and 20 miles south west of Basingstoke. There are main line rail services in the town that run a South West Mainline Service and London is less than an hour away.
Atmosphere: The charming Cathedral city is England’s ancient capital, combining the best of city living with country life. It is home to the country’s largest farmers market and enjoys a lively community with plenty of year-round events.
Things to do: From the bustling shopping streets, glorious walks on the South Downs National Park, 11th century Cathedral and inspiring arts and theatre scene, there is plenty to keep all generations entertained.
Schools: The area is home to plenty of well known schools — perhaps most famously is Winchester College, being the ‘oldest continuously running school in the country.’ There is also St Bede Primary, The Pilgrim’s School, St Swithun’s for Girls and Peter Symonds Sixth Form College.
Catch up on the best country houses for sale this week that have come to the market via Country Life.