Farmhouse transformed from ‘Wreck of the week’ to wonderful family home

21 June 2021

Farmhouse transformed from ‘Wreck of the week’ to wonderful family home

Woodmancote Farmhouse appeared as ‘Wreck of the Week’ in Country Life in 1998 when it was first spotted by Abigail & Nicholas Rowe.

The couple were living in London at the time and looking for a weekend house to modernise. When they came across Woodmancote Farmhouse, the Rowes bought it by sealed bid and moved lock, stock and barrel with their three children to the West Sussex countryside, just minutes from the South Coast. Woodmancote itself is in a hamlet situated on the Sussex/Hampshire borders, near the coastal town of Emsworth, seven miles west of Chichester and 10 miles from Goodwood.

“It was a huge lifestyle change,” says Abigail. “We just loved all the space in the farmhouse and the garden with its old orchard. It’s been a really lovely Christmas house, we fill the gallery with greenery and the location is great for the sea and the South Downs. Our children were nursery school age at the time and my husband would commute daily to London from Havant. Fortunately he only has to do that one day a week now.”

Nicholas and Abigail spent two years stripping back the farmhouse to do a ‘full belt and braces’ renovation, complete with a new roof. After 20 years of busy family life, the property could now do with some cosmetic updates and there’s further potential with the outbuildings, which include stables, tack rooms, and garaging with a self-contained apartment above. For example, the apartment could be let separately, provide staff accommodation or become the ideal spot for working from home.

The house itself extends to some 5,670 square feet and retains that genuine period farmhouse feel. The country kitchen/breakfast room with its Aga has a large, walk-in pantry with slate shelving. Leading to the dining room is a fitted butler’s pantry, which helps to make this an ideal house for entertaining.

Woodmancote Farmhouse stands in three acres of south-facing grounds which feature a sunken garden, a full size tennis court, outbuildings and paddocks. It’s possible to ride out onto the Downs directly from the property. With a reputable livery stables just down the road, this is great riding country.

If you prefer horse-power of a different kind, car enthusiasts will be pleased to hear that there are two double garages, one of which has an inspection pit.

A Silver Ghost Rolls Royce was the car used by former owner, Miss Tonge, a spinster who bought Woodmancote Farmhouse in the 1950s and before that the house was owned by a family who were ‘queens of entertaining’ at Woodmancote Farmhouse.

The house itself is Grade II listed and dates back to 1650 with major additions over the centuries. Rumour has it that the two large arched windows came from Racton Tower, a folly just to the north east.

Abigail adds, “The flagstone floor in the reception hall was added in Victorian times and the first floor bedrooms have their original, solid oak flooring still in good condition. The ceiling heights are surprisingly high for a Sussex farmhouse although a couple of the door frames are quite low so taller guests will have to duck.”

Now that their children have grown up and fled the nest, Nicholas and Abigail are also ready to move on so are now marketing Woodmancote Farmhouse through Henry Adams in Emsworth at a guide price of £2.2m.

“We’d love a family to come and enjoy all the space here,” says Abigail. “The teenage parties have been fantastic and we’ve had a lot of fun times. It’s a wonderful, rambling, family house.”

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