Penny Churchill November 9, 2023
The Garden of England provides the ideal backdrop for The Old Rectory, a beautiful country home situated in the historic village and parish of Penshurst.
Penshurst lies within a valley on the northern slopes of the Kentish Weald, at the confluence of the rivers Medway and Eden within the Sevenoaks district of Kent.
Much of the parish lies within the High Weald AONB — a majestic landscape of historic buildings, rolling grasslands, ancient woodlands, sunken lanes and captivating villages where, it has been said, London ends and England begins. And it’s in this lovely spot that you’ll find The Old Rectory, for sale via Savills at £5.75 million.
The house offers 5,946sq ft of elegant accommodation on four floors © Savills
This striking, 18th-century house sits within 1½ acres of established gardens overlooking the church and the adjoining Penshurst Place parkland; both church and parkland are accessible via private pedestrian gates.
Distinguished neighbours: The Old Rectory with the 12th-century St John the Baptist Church and 14th-century Penshurst Place. © Savills
Recommended videos for you The village grew up around Penshurst Place, a 14th-century manor house built in 1341 and granted in 1552 to Sir William Sidney, whose descendants have been custodians of the 2,500-acre Penshurst estate ever since. Penshurst’s Grade I-listed church of St John the Baptist stands in the centre of the village, surrounded by stone houses and buildings, one of which is the Old Guild Hall, said to be one of only two still standing in England.
Penshurst’s first priest, Wilhelmus, was installed in 1170 by Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury: his last public act before his assassination by four knights two days later, reputedly at the behest of Henry II.
According to parish records, from the 13th century onwards, rectors of Penshurst lived next door to the church in a rectory that was later given by the Sidney family to the local Parochial Church Council.
Over time, the council became concerned at the cost of maintaining the building and gave it in turn to the diocese, which, in the aftermath of the property market crash of the 1990s, decided to sell the original rectory and built a smaller, modern replacement in the garden.
The present owners, who bought The Old Rectory in 2005, have enhanced its many character features © Savills
Private ownership has been kind to the grand, Grade II-listed former rectory, which is classically Queen Anne in style, having red-brick elevations under a hip-tiled roof. The trademark symmetrical front façade has a central panelled door with a square light above and pilasters to either side.
The striking, 18th-century house sits within 1½ acres of established gardens overlooking the church © Savills
The present owners, who bought The Old Rectory in 2005, have enhanced its many period features with modern styling throughout, selling agent Will Peppitt reveals.
The house offers 5,946sq ft of elegant accommodation on four floors, including an entrance hall, study, drawing room, dining room, kitchen/breakfast room, gym, sauna, utility and store rooms on the ground and lower-ground floors.
There is a principal bedroom suite, three further bedrooms and a family bathroom on the first floor; and four further bedrooms, a bathroom and kitchen area on the second floor.
The adjoining Penshurst Place parkland is accessible via private pedestrian gates © Savills
Outside, the stable cottage is arranged as separate one- and two-bedroom apartments with a double garage.
The Old Rectory is listed with Savills for £5.75 million.
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