Tonbridge oast house for sale:18th century conversion on farm where Jane Austen's father lived is now a spacious family home

George Austen, the father of Jane Austen, lived at the farm where this 1780s oast house stands

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that an oast house makes an excellent, quirky conversion.

This one, in the Kent market town of Tonbridge, even comes with a link to a literary hero as Jane Austen’s father, George Austen, lived here as a young man.

The oast, which is tucked off Yardley Park Road within easy access of the High Street, is for sale at £1.75 million – so the buyer must be in possession of a small fortune.

Oast houses come with striking rounded chimneys designed to dry hops as part of the brewing process for beer. Traditionally, a charcoal-fired kiln sent heat up to three thin “drying floors” over which the hops were laid.

They are remarkable pieces of historic architecture and classic designs feature a cowl at the apex of the chimney that turns with the wind – although many have since been lost.

Architects have turned this oast house into a spacious family home and it features a striking rounded reception hall opening on to a large sitting room and kitchen.

The oast chimney houses a curved staircase and functions as a generous landing area with windows overlooking the countryside

Parts of the building date back to 1870, but it was converted and rebuilt in 1949 before being added to, extended and completely modernised.

George Austen was a teacher at Tonbridge School and lived on the site of the oast when it was part of a large farm. After his marriage, the Reverend Austen moved to the parish of Steventon in Hampshire, where Jane was born in 1775.

With six bedrooms and three bathrooms, the oast has enough space for families with, say, five daughters of a marriageable age – and there’s even a granny annex for a modern-day Mrs Bennet.

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