Few things are as quintessentially English as cricket. The same could almost be said of the Old Rectory at Offham, with its ragstone gateway, sweeping gravel drive and classic Georgian facade. It’s the perfect setting for a period drama – and one can’t help imagining a vintage Rolls parked outside or an elegant housekeeper answering the door. Or perhaps the sound of leather on willow, as members of the family practise a few plum shots along the smooth lawn.

Morning sunshine floods the yellow drawing room with light, leading you through the elegant hallway and into the heart of the Old Rectory

Morning sunshine floods the yellow drawing room with light, leading you through the elegant hallway and into the heart of the Old Rectory

Christel loves to cook, but also lets professional chefs use her kitchen when hosting weddings. The impressive mantelpiece was made especially to sit over the Lacanche range cooker – which came from one of David Beckham’s houses – and the stone corbels on which it rests, came from an antiques fair

Christel loves to cook, but also lets professional chefs use her kitchen when hosting weddings. The impressive mantelpiece was made especially to sit over the Lacanche range cooker – which came from one of David Beckham’s houses – and the stone corbels on which it rests, came from an antiques fair

The drawing room, with its open fire and huge sash windows, overlooks the lawn and mature gardens. Christel has had the Conran sofas for many years, while the Indian ‘elephant table’ belonged to Lord Cowdrey and came from Bangalore. Josef Holst painted the Chinese-style murals

The drawing room, with its open fire and huge sash windows, overlooks the lawn and mature gardens. Christel has had the Conran sofas for many years, while the Indian ‘elephant table’ belonged to Lord Cowdrey and came from Bangalore

Josef Holst painted the Chinese-style murals

Josef Holst painted the Chinese-style murals

The dining table extends, and can seat more than 20 people comfortably

The dining table extends, and can seat more than twenty people comfortably

With a view through large sash windows, out over the sweeping gravel drive and front lawns, the dining room seems the perfect room for entertaining

With a view through large sash windows, out over the sweeping gravel drive and front lawns, the dining room seems the perfect room for entertaining

The snug is where Christel’s sons, Julius and Fabian come to relax and watch sport. In the summer, the French doors can be opened wide, allowing easy access to the expansive garden. The heavy Scandinavian-style embroidered curtains are made from Harlequin fabric

The snug is where Christel’s sons, Julius and Fabian come to relax and watch sport. In the summer, the French doors can be opened wide, allowing easy access to the expansive garden. The heavy Scandinavian-style embroidered curtains are made from Harlequin fabric

Mood boards in Christel’s office hint at one of her many talents – as an interior designer. She is currently working on the interior decor of two boutique hotel chains in the West Country

Mood boards in Christel’s office hint at one of her many talents – as an interior designer. She is currently working on the interior decor of two boutique hotel chains in the West Country

The informal, cosy landing area, which links the sumptuous bedrooms on the first floor

The informal, cosy landing area, which links the sumptuous bedrooms on the first floor

The dramatic guest bedroom, with its deep, teal-coloured wallpaper contrasts with Christel’s rather more feminine bedroom across the landing

The dramatic guest bedroom, with its deep, teal-coloured wallpaper contrasts with Christel’s rather more feminine bedroom across the landing

The guest room is very much a suite, with writing desk, armchair and masses of space in which to enjoy the country house ambience

The guest room is very much a suite, with writing desk, armchair and masses of space in which to enjoy the country house ambience

Upstairs, one is reminded of her creative ability by decadent, luxurious bedrooms, each very much with its own, individual style

Upstairs, one is reminded of her creative ability by decadent, luxurious bedrooms, each very much with its own, individual style

Peachy cream paintwork offsets oriental paintings of birds and flowers, while light dances off the metal bedstead and gilt light sconces. A marble fireplace at the foot of the bed framed on either side by heavy, patterned curtains, gives the room a sense of grandeur as well as softness

Peachy cream paintwork offsets oriental paintings of birds and flowers, while light dances off the metal bedstead and gilt light sconces. A marble fireplace at the foot of the bed framed on either side by heavy, patterned curtains, gives the room a sense of grandeur as well as softness

Julius’ bedroom shows a clear sense of individual style and fun as well as an obvious love of team sport – or sport in general. The quirky bedstead, resembling leather saddlery, is from And So To Bed

The quirky bedstead in Julius' room, resembling leather saddlery, is from And So To Bed

Julius’ bedroom shows a clear sense of individual style and fun as well as an obvious love of team sport

Julius’ bedroom shows a clear sense of individual style and fun as well as an obvious love of team sport

The house is said to date from 1733 and was the home of the vicars of Offham and Hamsey until the late 1930s

The house is said to date from 1733 and was the home of the vicars of Offham and Hamsey until the late 1930s

The lawn – seen here in early spring, before it is mown to the perfection of a cricket pitch – makes an ideal backdrop for wedding photographs

The lawn – seen here in early spring, before it is mown to the perfection of a cricket pitch – makes an ideal backdrop for wedding photographs

  • words:
  • pictures: David Merewether
  • styling: Helen Barton

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