Better Than Fiction

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Nick Churton of Mayfair International Realty harks back to a time of real Georgian architecture, the Church and smuggling with a delightful vicarage on the south coast of England now for sale through Phillips & Stubbs.

Despite being built three years after the death of Jane Austen in 1817, The Old Vicarage in Icklesham on the south coast of England can hardly fail to conjure up images of fictional characters from Pride and Prejudice such as William Collins, Charlotte Lucas and of course their benefactor, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Fans of Anthony Trollope also will recognise the comfortable period relationship between nineteenth century English domestic architecture and the Church in this classic house set in the lee of All Saints and St Nicholas, the Norman parish church.

Here is a treasure of a Georgian vicarage with all the style and elegance of that age. The symmetrical three bay front elevation under a parapet wall and mansard roof with two small dormer windows is just the introduction to a particularly elegant interior which is packed with charm.

It is not just the house that delights. Both the situation and the location, close to the lovely enclave of Winchelsea and the ancient town of Rye, seem largely unspoiled by progress. This part of the world remains much as it would have been when smuggling contraband across the English Channel from France was a way of life for the residents hereabouts.

Perhaps the vicars of All Saints and St Nicholas knew about this illicit trade. Perhaps the walls of the lovely vicarage can tell some tales. This house certainly has history but it is also a home for today. It was built in a period when natural light and the fine proportions of rooms were most important. They still are.

With enough bedrooms for five daughters not to have to share, a drawing room perfect for a Mrs Bennet, a quiet study for a Mr Bennet and garden for a Lizzy Bennet, The Old Vicarage offers the ideal chance to live the dream.

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