Abbey House is located in a quiet backwater, but also close to centre of Malmesbury and the Abbey. The house is nestled beautifully behind its own stone walls and is surrounded by its own grounds affording incredible privacy. It is incredibly unusual to find a house of this stature within such large grounds that is just a stones throw from the many shops, bars and amenities that the Malmesbury residents enjoy.
Abbey House is predominantly a Tudor style house with wonderful views over the River Avon and convenient access to all of Malmesbury's fine attractions including the adjacent Abbey. The house has been awarded a Grade I listing as a nod to its historical significance and its many spectacular period features; these include the beautifully crafted stonework which you will find throughout, mullion windows, wonderful fireplaces, solid wood Tudor doors, oak staircases and finely detailed wood panelling.
Whilst the accommodation is substantial, at over 12,000 square feet, the house has retained a useable feel and allows large scale entertainment but also more importantly offers cosy areas for more intimate family use. The ground floor accommodation centres around the family kitchen/breakfast room and studio space. This room has a semi open plan feel and provides the family with excellent seating and dining areas adjacent to the kitchen. The drawing room and bedroom above are two of the most charming rooms as they offer a lovely double aspect through the aforementioned mullion windows. For entertaining purposes the library, which is stocked with a variety of in-built bookcases, would host an excellent party as would the reception hall.
The upper floors have a good mix of bedrooms and bathrooms. There is also the opportunity to provide fully independent suites as there is a back staircase and kitchenette allowing for dependent relatives or rental opportunities. Each room, as you would imagine, comes with its own beautiful aspect over the landscaped gardens as well as having individual period charm. The views to the front are over the intricate formal gardens and to the rear over the more rustic countryside gardens with the meandering River Avon running through the lower level. The belvedere on the ground floor is a useful and generous space used for large family gatherings and occasional wedding receptions both in it's own right and also as an overspill of the Malmesbury Abbey wedding venue. This has bi folding doors opening up on to the terrace and also has basic catering facilities in the second kitchen.
Abbey House is one of the oldest buildings in the sought after town of Malmesbury, on the southern edge of the Cotswolds, reputed to be England's oldest borough. It is positioned to enjoy level access to the many excellent amenities of Malmesbury whilst making the most of the backdrop of rolling countryside to the rear. Malmesbury itself has many shops including Waitrose, a variety of independent boutiques, coffee shops and well regarded restaurants. The area is popular with families due to the excellent schooling system and good access to the many well regarded local state and private schools which include Westonbirt School, Beaudesert School, Daunceys School and Marlborough College.
The location of the property provides excellent communication links with Junction 17 of the M4 being only 5 miles away making central London, Cardiff and the South Coast easily accessible.
There are a wide variety of local sporting events and pursuits including the horse racing at Cheltenham, Badminton Horse Trials, Castle Coombe race track, polo at Cirencester Park and the up and coming Cotswold Water Park with its many facilities.
For those looking to use the rail system Kemble Train Station offers high speed trains to central London (in just over 60 minutes) and Swindon Train Station has good links to the South.
The grounds are a particular highlight of Abbey House. This has developed as a result of the passion of the current owners since their early occupation. The gardens have achieved international acclaim and have been opened to the public for many years. This is a private arrangement and does not necessarily need to be continued.
The gardens offer incredible interest as well as beautifully stocked herbaceous borders, meandering paths and water features which are sure to delight. They have been informally split into two sections; to the front and to the rear. The house is accessed down a discrete lane from the main Malmesbury high street and through bespoke double wooden gates or a pedestrian access to a long tree lined driveway.
The framed front garden is divided into a number of lawned areas which are divided predominantly by mature yew tree hedging and incorporate: A Celtic cross shaped knot garden, spectacular herbaceous borders and the 'Lady Chapel walk'. The second section of the formal garden is the spectacular circular herb garden with raised oak beds and a uniform pattern of criss-crossing paths. There are a plethora of imaginative seating areas to enjoy the various architectural elements as well as the diverse flora and fauna.
From the formal gardens a meandering path leads via the upper terrace to the lower section of the garden which extends either side of the River Avon. The current owners have created a natural river garden with two monastic fishponds, waterfalls, mill races and a bridge adding interest to this wonderful water garden. Again there are wandering paths as well as sections of planting bringing both colour and diversity to this section of the garden. To the west of the lower gardens there is independent access ideal for maintenance vehicles etc.
As one would expect the garden has been designed to provide year round colour, interest and life as well as seating areas to drink in the many fine views of the property.
The Cloister Gardens
Abbey House also owns 'The Cloister Gardens' (0.7 acres) which is located to the west of the main drive and is currently let to Malmesbury town centre for their use on a long lease. Maintenance of these is undertaken by the town council.
Abbey House was originally part of the Benedictine Monastery founded around the end of the 7th Century with Malmesbury Abbey itself providing the backdrop to the beautiful gardens. Foundations dating back to the 13th Century can still be seen today, but it is believed there was a house on the site as far back as the 11th Century. Abbey House itself has been awarded Grade I listed status (houses of exceptional interest) with the majority of the current house constructed in the mid 16th Century.
It saw particular improvement and enlargement during the Tudor period and takes much of its architectural style from this much loved English building period.
After the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539, William Stumpe acquired the remains of the monastery from Henry VIII and by 1542 was constructing Abbey House on the existing 13th Century foundations of one of the former monastic buildings and possibly the Abbots House itself. The house was handed down through the Stumpe family and by the time of the English Civil War had passed to the Ivy family through marriage.
The house then remained in private ownership and was eventually bought at the beginning of the 20th Century by Captain Elliott Scott McKirdy who enlarged the house by adding a nursery wing and servants quarters whilst retaining its architectural integrity.
The house then passed to the Deaconess Community of St Andrew in 1968 where it was run as a base for parish ministry and as a home for elderly sisters and guests until early 1990. In 1994 the house was acquired by the present owners who have added their artistic flair and transformed the gardens and grounds which have been open to the public since 1998.