HISTORY Gatcombe Park estate has an exciting and colourful history with records preceding the Norman Conquest and the village of Gatcombe is listed in the Domesday Book. St Olave's church is situated next to the house and was dedicated in 1292. It was built to serve as the chapel to the house.
In 1576 the estate passed to the Worsley family and remained in the family until 1782. Sir Edward Worsley was an ardent Royalist and when King Charles I was imprisoned on the Island he was involved in two attempt to set the King free. It is rumoured that the King was secreted to Gatcombe and hid in the house before being betrayed, returned to Carisbrooke Castle and shortly afterwards returned to London and executed. The Worsley's were fortunate to emerge unscathed from events, and on the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Edward received a Knighthood from Charles II as a belated reward.
It was Sir Edward's great grandson, another Sir Edward Worsley, who designed and commissioned the building of the present Gatcombe House at Gatcombe Park in 1751. The property was owned by Alexander Baring 1st Baron of Ashburton, by the great island benefactor, Sir Charles Seeley Bt, and later by the Hobart's another notable Isle of Wight family.
Under the previous ownership, the house underwent an extensive and sympathetic restoration. The current owner has also introduced a number of improvements to the house, including the complete restoration and conversion of The Old Stable Block, as well as meticulously maintaining the house to its good condition.
SITUATION Gatcombe House sits in an idyllic location surrounded by its own parkland and ancient woodland and close to the geographical centre of the Isle of Wight. Glimpses of the 13th century village church can be seen through the trees beside the ornamental lake and the surrounding countryside is renowned for riding, shooting and walking. The Island's beautiful beaches and heritage coastline are within a 20 minute drive from the property and the county town of Newport is just 3 miles to the north, offering a full range of local amenities.
The Isle of Wight is celebrated as an international yachting and sailing venue, with the annual Cowes Week regatta in August attracting competitors from all over the world. A full range of yacht and sailing clubs provide a social hub, as do the nearby Golf courses including St Georges Golf Club at Newport, Freshwater Golf Club and Shanklin & Sandown Golf Course.
Ryde School with Upper Chine is the main independent (HMC) School on the Island, offering co-education from pre-school to sixth form on a daily, full or weekly boarding basis. The Priory School in Whippingham offers a smaller alternative. Many Island children commute to mainland schools such as Portsmouth Grammer, St Edward's and Hordle Walhampton Prep and there are good feeder links to conveniently located public schools such as Winchester College and St Swithun's in Winchester, Bryanston, Canford and the Sherborne schools in Dorset, and Marlborough College in Wiltshire.
DESCRIPTION Gatcombe House is an incredibly attractive Grade II* listed country house of classical design which enjoys an exceptional position with far reaching views overlooking a secluded part of the Medina Valley. Although incorporating part of an earlier Elizabethan building the main section was constructed in 1751 and is an elegant example of Georgian architecture with a spectacular ashlar fa�ade and central stone pediment. In keeping with its classical era, the house has a remarkably easy flow of rooms that all benefit from high ceilings and lovely proportions making it perfect for entertaining. Combined with a large family kitchen, Gatcombe House is also presented as a charming family home and has been beautifully preserved by the current owner. The house's outstanding presence created by its grand elevations is gracefully complemented by the array of period features including large windows with fine sash windows, intricate cornicing, handsome chimneypieces, traditional radiators and ornate door casings and pediments within the reception rooms.
In the autumn months the Virginia creeper which adorns the eastern front turns an eye catching red and in the spring the parkland scenery is awash with a bed of spring daffodils and bulbs. Access to Gatcombe House is via a stone pillared entrance with wrought iron gates and side railings. A shaded lime avenue drive opens onto the parkland and the drive culminates in a gravel sweep. A pair of part glazed front doors are set within the stone entrance porch.
GROUND FLOOR The stone porch and part glazed entrance doors open into the reception hall with chequered limestone flagged floor and chimneypiece with a carved timber and marble surround. The majority of the formal reception rooms have similar regency styled chimneypieces and ornate cornicing and ceiling carvings. The drawing room has window seats in the eastern windows overlooking the drive, rose garden and far reaching views beyond. There are a further three windows with French doors opening to the south garden with views of the magnificent copper beech tree. Double doors adjoin the formal dining room which has a further two windows with French doors and is conveniently located near to the kitchen. The billiard room has an intriguing chimneypiece with 'Grinling Gibbons' style carved surround. Its wooden floor sprung for dancing and substantial proportions make it suitable for the dual purpose of a ballroom. A notable set of walnut doors set in a moulded frame open to the study which is next to office and has views of the parkland and lake.
Beyond the reception hall is the central hall with wide and gracefully carved galleried staircase which is illuminated by an impressive Venetian window. A rear hall has a secondary staircase and a door leading to a gravelled seating area. At the rear of the house is a fabulous kitchen/breakfast room which has a large skylight and pair of French windows that open to a walled courtyard that has wooden herb beds and greenhouse, a real suntrap and used for 'al fresco' dinning. Within the kitchen is a large central island, inglenook fireplace with wood burning stove, four oven cream AGA, wooden painted units with slate and oak surfaces. Ideal for family and more informal living, the kitchen is positioned as a central hub next to the sitting/play room, gym, utility room, large cloakroom and preparation kitchen. The extensive cellar contains wine bins, boiler room, extensive storage rooms and unusually the 1751 date stone.
FIRST FLOOR The double aspect principal bedroom has fantastic views over the gardens, park and the land beyond. It has a large adjoining bathroom and a substantial dressing room with a separate loo and basin. Therefore the dressing room could be an additional bedroom. On the first floor there are a further three bedrooms and two further bathrooms. Next to the secondary staircase is a room, currently used for storage, which has been used as an artist's studio. The large front bedroom with three windows overlooking the parkland and rose garden would also be a lovely drawing/morning room.
SECOND FLOOR On the second floor there are a further six bedrooms, three bathrooms and open planned living/kitchen room. This open planned room is currently used as a bedroom but the north-west bedroom and adjoining bathroom could be incorporated to establish a staff flat.