Is this Britain's smallest island home?former 16th-century rectory in East Sussex with its own moat and three footbridges is for sale for £5m

Legend has it that the rector of the parish in the 18th century singlehandedly dug the rectangular moat surrounding the property. Now, the former rectory has been converted into a magnificent seven-bedroom house, set in 44 acres that include a lake, ornamental gardens, swimming pool and tennis court...

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If you've ever fantasised about buying an island retreat, but still want to be within an easy commute of the city, then this moated home in East Sussex could be the perfect sanctuary for a buyer with deep pockets.

Chailey Moat, a 16th-century former rectory on a 44-acre estate, has been listed for sale for £5 million. The seven-bedroom home sits on an island, surrounded by a full moat spanned by three timber footbridges.

Reached by a long drive, the home not only provides a perfect sanctuary, but the rat race is easily accessible again, being just 47 minutes to London by train.

The seven-bedroom 6,400sq ft house, parts of which date from 1540, lies in 44 acres near the village of Chailey Green, equidistant between Lewes and Haywards Heath in East Sussex.

The grounds feature a parterre garden with formal fountain, a kitchen garden with Victorian-style greenhouse, a swimming pool, a large lake, a four-bedroom converted tithe barn and a two-bedroom cottage.

Legend has it that the Reverend Richard Porter, rector of the parish from 1713-53, singlehandedly dug the moat, although it is probably a remnant from a medieval fortified farm.

However, he did convert the rectory into the grand affair it is today, including installing its striking south-east facade and the grade-II listed property now blends Tudor, Elizabethan and Georgian architecture.

On the ground floor of the main house is an oak-panelled reading room with fireplace featuring a mantel made from part of a bedstead once owned by Charles I, a double-aspect drawing room, a dining room and a sitting room with four pairs of French doors fitted with Juliet balconies looking directly over the moat.

The oak-panelled reading room has a fireplace with a mantel made from a bed owned by Charles I (Savills)

A kitchen-breakfast room adjoins a prep kitchen and several utility and storerooms.

Up the 18th-century oak staircase is a galleried landing and five bedrooms, including a master bedroom with a marble fireplace, its own dressing room, bathroom and separate loo.

Two more bedrooms are on the second floor, each with their own staircases.

One of three wooden footbridges leads into the ornamental gardens (Savills)

From a paved terrace, one of the bridges leads to the ornamental garden with box hedging, while the stream-fed lake is just round the corner.

The 17th-century tithe barn has its own kitchenette and bathroom and a private terrace, while the cottage - a former piggery - also has a kitchenette and bathroom.

There is also a productive orchard, woodland concealing a workshop and tractor shed, while the rest of the estate runs to pasture sprinkled with mature trees.

Chailey Moat is six miles from Haywards Heath station, which offers trains into London Bridge and Victoria.


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