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A Grade II * listed Medieval and Queen Anne six bedroom detached house with tennis court, swimming pool, outbuildings and 20 acres of formal gardens and grounds.

Property Highlights

  • A Grade II* listed Medieval and Queen Anne detached house
  • Six bedroom; five reception rooms
  • Kitchen/breakfast room
  • Grade II listed triple garage/barn set over two floors
  • Outdoor heated swimming pool
  • Parkland of approximately 20 acres
  • Outdoor kitchen/BBQ area
  • Tennis Court

Avenue Farm has 3,590 sq. ft. of versatile accommodation set over four floors. There are five reception rooms including a cinema room in the cellar. A built-in wine storage area was retained in the cellar and it also contains the boiler room/log store. There are two bathrooms and four bedrooms on the first floor and a further two bedrooms and a bathroom on the second floor which has in the past been used as a separate apartment for an au pair. The property is set in over 20 acres of grounds including formal gardens which have features designed by Julie Toll, a Gold Medal winner at Chelsea. There is also a tennis court and an outdoor swimming pool which has a pool house with a kitchen/dining area for outdoor entertaining.

History

The oldest part of the house is timber framed from the late Medieval period and is dated, from the style of the large internal chimney, to before 1440. Daphne Rance in her history of the parish “The Yeoman of Ippolytes” gives details of some of the former owners including its purchase from the lord of the manor in 1657 by William Warren (also known as Wood) who lived at the property till his death in September 1697. In 1709 it was bought by Richard Raynor the son of a wealthy Hitchin maltster. His son William left the house to his daughter Sarah who was married to Gravelly Hurst, an attorney at law from a respected local family who made their money in the brewing industry. They both died in 1774 and the house was purchased by a Hitchin tanner Charles Baron. The property was known at this time and well into the following century as Baron’s Farm.

History Continued

In the early 1700s the Raynors added the Queen Anne frontage on the east wing and the carriage driveway through an avenue of limes which leads to the Queen Anne front of the house. Approaching from this direction, Nicholas Pevsner, in the Hertfordshire volume of “The Buildings of England” comments favourably on “an especially good façade of c 1700, five bays with modillioned eaves cornice.” Internally this provided what Ms Rance describes as “a new entrance flanked by a pair of elegant panelled front rooms with stately bedrooms above while attic bedrooms above that give a bird’s eye view of Gosmore’s lesser dwellings.” Ms Rance also comments on the successful juxtaposition of old and new: “the heart of the house William Warren’s hall and the chamber above it are still there.”

Ground Floor

The front door has a fanlight window above and opens into the entrance hallway which has flagstone flooring. From the main hallway, a door, with the original front step to the house, leads to an inner hallway which has stairs down to the cinema room and a staircase to the first floor. The cinema room has exposed beams to the ceiling, flagstone flooring and a variety of built-in storage including a built-in wine store. A part glazed door leads to an external red-brick staircase to the side of the house and garden. Another door leads to the boiler room/log store which houses the boiler.

Reception Rooms

The music room and dining room are in the Queen Anne part of the house and both have two sash windows to the front looking down the carriage drive to the countryside beyond. The music room also has a glazed door to the garden overlooking the gardens and parkland. The dining room has panelled walls and a further window to the side with a window seat and original shutters. The drawing room is in the older part of the house and has exposed floorboards, a part glazed door to the garden and a window overlooking the gardens and parkland. These three reception rooms all have original fireplaces with marble surrounds and they are all in working order. The library is accessed from the breakfast area and was formerly the dairy. It is triple aspect with a part vaulted ceiling and a variety of built-in book shelves and cupboards. There are push buttons in some rooms to ring for servants but the system is not currently operational.

Kitchen/Breakfast Room, Boot Room and Utility Room

The bespoke Chalon kitchen/breakfast room has a range of free standing units with granite and wooden worktops over, together with a central island. There is an inset twin ceramic sink with a mixer tap over. Integrated appliances include a fridge and a dishwasher. The gas Aga and electric and gas Aga companion have a tiled splashback. There are windows to both sides and the original servant bells are a feature above the door. The kitchen/breakfast room and adjoining boot room have Chinese slate flooring. The boot room has a part glazed door to the rear and built-in storage. The utility room has a fitted base unit with a granite worktop over. There is an inset butler sink with a mixer tap over together with space and plumbing for a washing machine and a tumble dryer. There is a window to the rear and a further store cupboard which has space and plumbing for a fridge/freezer. The cloakroom off the utility room has a high-level WC.

First Floor

The master bedroom has two sash windows to the front and a further window to the side. There are built-in wardrobes and a feature fireplace. The en suite has an enclosed corner shower cubicle, twin wash basins, a WC, a heated towel rail and a window to the side. The walls are decorated with a mural which makes a feature of the chimney breast as a tree trunk. There are bespoke mirrors fitted in the spaces between the exposed beams. Bedroom two has three sash windows to the front and side together with a feature fireplace. Bedroom three has windows to both sides and a feature fireplace. Bedroom four has a built-in triple wardrobe and a window to the front. The family bathroom has a free standing roll top bath with a mixer tap and separate shower attachment over, a wet room shower, a WC, a bidet, a wash basin with a mixer tap over, a heated towel rail and a window to the side.

Second Floor

Bedroom five has a dormer window to the front and a window to the side. There is a variety of built-in furniture including a built-in cabin bed, wardrobes and drawers. Bedroom six has a dormer window to the front and a further window to the side. The bathroom has a free standing Victoria and Albert roll top bath with a mixer tap and a shower attachment over, an enclosed corner shower cubicle, a WC, a wash basin with a mixer tap over, a heated towel rail and a window to the front. The rooms on this floor could be used to create a separate apartment for a nanny, au pair or relative if desired.

Grounds and Gardens

A five bar gate opens onto the gravel carriage drive which is bordered by mature trees including oak, horse-chestnut, lime and sycamore trees. There is a turning circle round a bed with a central standard yew tree in front of the house. A secondary driveway leads to the side/rear of the property in front of the detached garage/barn. To the side, the formal gardens are laid to lawn with a flagstone paved patio seating area bordered by mature flower and shrub beds. The swimming pool area is enclosed by a wall and fence border with a variety of mature flower and shrub beds and borders. There is a pool house, with a pitched clay tile roof, which incorporates two changing rooms and a sheltered kitchen/BBQ area with an integrated oven and hob and space for a fridge/freezer. There is a decked seating area. To the side of the swimming pool, there is a tennis court.

Parkland

In addition to the formal gardens, there are approximately 20 acres of parkland. The Avenue Field to the front of the property has a mature double avenue of lime trees, some of which are over 300 years old, and after which Avenue Farm is named. The Home Field to the side of the property has a post and rail paddock for equestrian use, and a fenced Medieval pond, as well as numerous mature trees throughout the field.

Triple Garage/Barn

The Grade II listed barn has a triple garage with three timber up and over doors. Power and light are connected. There is a garden store to the side. From the middle garage, a staircase rises to the first floor which is currently used as an office/games room and has a full vaulted ceiling with exposed beams to the walls and ceiling. There is a window to the front. There are built-in bookshelves along one wall. There is a cinema projector suspended from the ceiling and an automated screen which opens in front of the bookshelves.

Hitchin

Gosmore is a hamlet in the parish of St. Ippoltys, located just 1.7 miles from the town of Hitchin which has a variety of shops, pubs and restaurants. There is also an open air market every Tuesday and Saturday which have been taking place for over 500 years. The Queen Mother theatre is a purpose built venue with a programme of professional and amateur productions. The Hitchin swimming centre has outdoor and indoor pools for year round use. The town has a range of schools including boys' and girls' grammar schools both rated outstanding by Ofsted. The town is on the Great Northern train line and there are four weekday services per hour to and from London and two trains per hour to both Peterborough and Cambridge. The fastest non-stop service from London King's Cross to Hitchin takes only 23 minutes.