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Came, Dorchester, Dorset DT2 8NX

Guide Price Of £1,250,000

A most handsome and historic Grade II Listed former rectory within striking distance of the county town.

History
The story of Old Came Rectory is very much the literary story of Dorset since the mid 1800's; a rich tapestry of characters that have shaped and influenced the folklore and literary culture of the county for the last 150 years. Even the architectural design of Old Came Rectory, whilst not proven to be directly associated with the famous architect, John Nash, appears to most certainly be in the style of Nash's 'cottage orne'.

Built in the early 18th century, it was not until 1862 that the Rectory was to begin its literary association when the Reverend William Barnes, described as the 'great idyllic poet of England', took occupation. Whilst Barnes himself was a literary giant it was his profound influence on the young Thomas Hardy that would ensure that Old Came Rectory continued to be a literary hub well into the 20th Century. Barnes passed away in 1886 and it was, like many Victorians, his meticulous recording of daily life that gives us a very clear history of the house and its visitors. Amongst many visitors during Barnes' occupation was the Poet Laureate, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, but the list was extensive.

After Barnes' death the rectory was put up for auction and thereafter succession of parsons took residence with a variety of visitors, many of whom came to see Thomas Hardy, now resident a short distance away at Max Gate. Most notable during this period were the war poets Edmund Blunden and Siegfried Sassoon who visited the rectory in1923. But perhaps one of the most special guests was T E Lawrence who came to see Blunden and Sassoon for lunch at the house.

The House
Old Came Rectory was clearly conceived as a gentleman's residence with its generously large reception rooms and high ceilings. The exterior is lime rendered and painted under a thatched roof with a pretty thatched veranda at ground floor level, which, along with the latticework windows, very much reflect the 'cottage orne' style.

Of particular note is the striking hallway, its door topped with a beautiful fan light, leading to the fine staircase with its elegant bannisters. The front portion of the house is a 'four square' Georgian pattern, each reception room with a fireplace, the impressive dining room no stranger to debate and laughter. To the rear of the property, is a serving area or second kitchen and further back, in what was the old Coach House, there is a more spacious kitchen/breakfast room with its bi-fold doors facing South-East to let in the morning sun. A separate laundry room and storage area is conveniently located behind the kitchen.

The first floor has a glorious collection of individual bedrooms around the pretty landing, each bedroom with its unique character and the sumptuous master with an adjoining bathroom.

Beneath the main staircase the cellar gives clues to the humbler roots of the house. Almost perfectly preserved is the original cottage, it's fascinating set of rooms, now cool and dry, ideal for the storage of wine.

The current owners have undergone an extensive restoration and improvement of the house over a number of years to make it, not only shine as a period house, but be practical for the demands of contemporary living. Old Came Rectory is listed Grade II as a building of architectural and historical importance and the renovation has been carried out with the enthusiastic support of the local authority. The services have been updated to modern standards and the house functions in an efficient manner, but still has great potential for further enhancement.

The Coach House (first Floor Flat)
A particular feature of the house, achieved at some expense, is the lovely guest apartment on the first floor of the Old Coach House. Any visitor would be delighted and happily surprised to stay in such neat rooms with their skilled cabinet work, the lovely open sitting room, and balcony overlooking the glorious gardens. The apartment is big enough for comfortable full-time occupation, or for use as staff accommodation or a family annexe.

The Formal Garden
The beautiful formal walled garden has been restored by the current owners. A facsimile of the original gardens, old Ordnance Survey maps were used to confirm the exact location of features such as the summer house within the boundaries. In essence the garden is not only a beautiful backdrop to the house, but an equally important aspect of the whole. Of note, the path to the ornamental pond is perfectly aligned from the Music Room window, its symmetrical box hedging and topiary guiding the eye to the pond and beyond to the summerhouse. The romantic garden has numerous areas (too many to mention) for relaxation, contemplation and entertaining amongst the paths and beds. Whilst ornate and beautiful, the garden has a practical plan for ease of maintenance and purchasers should not be daunted.

Grounds
Old Came Rectory is approached via a long gravel drive which sweeps round to the front and side of the property providing ample parking. Predominantly to the left of the drive is a sweeping lawn leading to the front elevation of the house. The boundaries have a variety of large trees screening and maintaining the privacy of the house but being far enough away not to deprive the house of light during the summer. Adjacent to the walled garden is a productive kitchen garden and orchard. A range of outbuildings incorporating a workshop, a wood store and a strong room is located discreetly on the East side. The gardens are bordered by fields and mature trees.

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