Oxney CourtOxney, St. Margarets-At-Cliffe, Dover, United Kingdom
An important country house estate, close to the coast and in a very private setting. HISTORY Oxney Court has an intriguing history, having for many years lain at the heart of England’s smallest parish. The earliest reference to Oxney is in a charter of 1038, at which time the parish contained only 319 acres. The earliest history of the parish is centred on the nearby Church of St Nicholas which is now redundant and ruined. It was a chapel of ease to serve the estate at Oxney, associated with The Abbey at West Langdon, founded 1192. By 1759, when Hasted...visited Oxney, the church had a thatched roof and was being used as a barn. The open ruins were later re-consecrated as a family burial ground in the 19th Century (but the Church is no longer a part of the estate today). There has been a house on this site for centuries, although it has changed much over generations. At the heart of today’s house is a late 17th Century house, built after the earlier timber framed property was demolished and improved. The gothic style was first introduced to Oxney in 1764 by the Jeken family and further transformations were made through the 19th Century. The house was then requisitioned during World War I, mysteriously caught fire and was severely damaged and then fell into ruin. The gardens were laid out and planted during the later 19th Century, when the house was owned by the Banks family. Joseph Banks, the nephew of the owner, was well known for introducing exotic plants to England whilst he was employed at Kew Gardens; some magnificent specimen trees remain today. In the latter years of the 20th century, a variety of attempts to rebuild the ruin were proposed, but were considered inappropriate until 1997, when Oxney Court was sold and the then owners obtained permission for a sympathetic reconstruction of the mansion house, and implemented a careful programme of restoration and improvement resulting house of the highest quality. The current owners have continued to care for and enhance the property providing the most wonderful environment for living and entertaining. The House is listed Grade II on account of its historical and architectural importance, and is a very rare example of a baronial gothic manor house in the depths of the Kentish countryside. THE PROPERTY Oxney Court is a rare and beautiful house offering an exceptional combination of an extremely elegant principal house together with excellent guest and staff accommodation, all wonderfully served by the further facilities in terms of leisure and entertainment. The estate possesses great levels of privacy enhancing further the special environment and enjoyment of the property and is a gracious and tranquil oasis in which to retreat. Electric gates open to a driveway which passes through ancient woodland before continuing through more formal gardens on approaching the house. A second drive bears off through the woodland leading to the guest Cottage. Rounding the circular driveway, the mansion house comes into view across expansive lawns to the front of the property. Covered steps, beneath a magnificent entrance porch, lead to an octagonal reception hall with stone flooring. Ahead, double doors open to a fine, generously proportioned dining room which, like the principal façade of the house, is in the Strawberry Hill gothic style. There is a large bow window with gothic style detailing and a high ceiling with ornate mouldings. Beyond the reception hall, the staircase hall has a stone fireplace and a sweeping staircase leading to the first floor landing. Beyond, the elegant principal reception rooms stretch across the front of the house. The drawing room has a striking mirrored wall and a double-sided fireplace to the end of the room also opens into the library with fitted bookshelves. Beyond is the triple aspect sitting room which, like the dining room, has gothic detail. Together these rooms provide a wonderful space for both family living and formal entertaining. An inner hallway to leads either side to a double aspect study, panelled with oak, and to the kitchen/breakfast room. The kitchen is fitted with handmade oak units arranged around an island unit and a large roof light floods the room with light. An elegant hexagonal conservatory is set to the southern corner of the house and enjoys lovely views of the garden to the rear. The first floor is arranged as a series of generous bedroom suites. The master bedroom is of excellent proportions having a bow window with easterly views and double doors to a beautifully appointed bathroom, which can also be approached from the tower staircase. From here, double doors overlook the turreted porch below. The family bathroom, which is situated to the rear of the first floor, could be incorporated within the master bedroom suite if so desired. Across the front of the house are three well-appointed suites, the largest enjoying a triple aspect. A fifth bedroom is found at the rear, adjacent to which is a large rooftop balcony with a southerly aspect. The second floor provides substantial store rooms, although perhaps has the potential for adaptation to incorporate further accommodation if so desired, and subject to any necessary consents. The tower staircase continues to a third floor where a sixth bedroom with shower room is found, and beyond this the staircase terminates on a fourth floor with a rooftop enjoying views across the gardens and grounds. Cellars and store rooms beneath complete the accommodation in the main house. Beyond the property are the more formal gardens, enclosed by high walls, with yew hedges bisected by stone pathways. There is also an extensive vegetable garden with raised beds, beyond which lies a tennis court and the tennis pavilion, which also provides a gym, garden store and garaging. The gardens and grounds are laid to areas of lawn interspersed with laurels and rhododendrons and surrounded by deep belts of trees and woodland. The lawns are underplanted with a great variety of flowering bulbs, shrubs and other plants and the more formal garden to the rear of the house has deep herbaceous borders enclosed by yew hedging and high brick walls. Additionally, there is a further area of garden, mostly laid to lawn, as well as a rose garden which is enclosed by box hedging, and an arbour. Within the woods it an utterly charming tree house with rope bridges and hobbit house, which will delight both children and adult alike. A sensational oak framed outdoor dining room and entertaining space has a fireplace, barbeque and kitchen and can be open or closed to the elements depending on the weather. STABLE BLOCK To the rear of Oxney Court is a paved courtyard, enclosed in part by a high brick wall and on the far side of which is the former stable block which provides guest a self-contained guest annexe with a large bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. Adjacent to this is a superb cinema room. A bathroom and a separate shower room and changing room serve the pool and there is a large laundry room, together with a plant room. GUEST COTTAGE (known as Rose Cottage) Rose Cottage is set away from the house, away from the formal gardens and set within the woodland. The accommodation here extends to some 1750 square feet and is arranged over two floors. A staircase from the entrance hall at the centre of the house gives access to a sitting room and a dining room to one side, each with a pair of bay windows, and a store room/study in the centre of the house has access to a pair of French doors. The kitchen/breakfast room has stairs leading down to a cellar below. There are further store rooms and a guest cloakroom at the rear of the property. The first floor has four evenly proportioned bedrooms with two bathrooms. STAFF COTTAGE (known as Oxney Cottage) Oxney Cottage is situated close at hand to Oxney Court, a discreet distance away from the guest accommodation at Rose Cottage and the rear courtyard, and has a separate parking area. The accommodation is arranged over two floors with an extensive open plan kitchen and sitting room with two bedrooms and a bathroom above.
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