Living the rural dream, yet within walking distance of a vibrant town community are surely mutually exclusive ideas. Paul and his wife Jane certainly thought so, until a 17th century moated property nestling off a busy Wealden High Street, reached out and stole their hearts.

The spacious kitchen was designed and installed by Schofield & Crafter

The spacious kitchen was designed and installed by Schofield & Crafter

Light grey granite work surfaces and grey slate floor blend effortlessly with the ivory-coloured units and pewter handles

Light grey granite work surfaces and grey slate floor blend effortlessly with the ivory-coloured units and pewter handles

In the sitting room, the second inglenook fireplace shows clearly where the floor has been lowered. Two comfortable tapestry sofas in rich plum tones, complement delicately patterned curtains made by Bell House Fabrics

In the sitting room, the second inglenook fireplace shows clearly where the floor has been lowered. Two comfortable tapestry sofas in rich plum tones, complement delicately patterned curtains made by Bell House Fabrics

A linking room which joins the kitchen to the converted barn is more akin to a relaxing garden room

A linking room which joins the kitchen to the converted barn is more akin to a relaxing garden room

Paul and Jane converted one of the property’s barns into an annexe consisting of a bedroom and en suite bathroom. Filled with the most beautiful natural light and overlooking a delightful courtyard garden, this room radiates tranquillity

Paul and Jane converted one of the property’s barns into an annexe consisting of a bedroom and en suite bathroom. Filled with the most beautiful natural light and overlooking a delightful courtyard garden, this room radiates tranquillity

Paul points out the impressive oak doors made from floorboards from the original cottages and which appear throughout the house

Paul points out the impressive oak doors made from floorboards from the original cottages and which appear throughout the house

The light, bright en suite

The light, bright en suite

From the master bedroom Paul has a perfect view of the pond where he can lay back and watch the kingfisher swoop onto his perch. Next door the white Italian marbled en suite bathroom adds an air of Victorian charm

From the master bedroom Paul has a perfect view of the pond where he can lay back and watch the kingfisher swoop onto his perch

Green oak was used to make the stairs, primarily for its inherent flexible qualities which allowed it to mould around the huge central chimney and move with the varying temperatures within the house

Green oak was used to make the stairs, primarily for its inherent flexible qualities which allowed it to mould around the huge central chimney and move with the varying temperatures within the house

Son James’s room has been commandeered by daughter Sally, an illustrator, in his absence

Son James’s room has been commandeered by daughter Sally, an illustrator, in his absence

The top floor is where sons Will and Ed still keep their rooms despite having ‘officially’ moved out

The top floor is where sons Will and Ed still keep their rooms despite having ‘officially’ moved out

Several elephants, a zebra and friends

Several elephants, a zebra and friends

At the top of the steep staircase, we enter real teenage territory

At the top of the steep staircase, we enter real teenage territory

The gardens surrounding the house are a haven for wildlife including a resident badger who at this time of year scrumps fallen apples, and a kingfisher, who swoops from a tree onto his perch at the edge of the pond

The moat which surrounds the house is fed by two streams, one of which was a mill race

The moat which surrounds the house is fed by two streams, one of which was a mill race

Christmas is fast approaching

Christmas is fast approaching

  • words:
  • pictures: David Merewether
  • styling: Lucy Fleming

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