Historic School Conversion | Holmhurst St. Mary

The Ridge | St. Leonards-on-Sea | TN37

4 Bedrooms | 2 Receptions | 2 bathrooms | Garage | Grounds



A substantial part of a Victorian mansion with 4 bedrooms, 2 reception rooms, large south facing garden, garage and views to the sea and countryside. Converted ten years ago to create separate homes from one mid 19th century mansion house. Holmhurst is set in a place of hidden beauty just outside Hastings with far reaching views of both the sea and the rolling hills of Sussex.

Famed Victorian travel writer and botanist Augustus Hare had seen the world before he decided to build his home on The Ridge in Hastings. He chose well. The mansion has far -reaching views to the sea and to the other direction across rolling Sussex countryside. Having brought joy to Augustus Hare, then fallen into disrepair after his death, the house was converted into a convent school for girls: Joanna Lumley was amongst the pupils who’ve lived and studied here. The substantial and quite separate and private central part of the property which now forms this unique and very beautiful home includes what were the girls’ 6th form common room, a classroom which was used for music and the head teachers’ office which is now a cosy sitting room with stone mullion windows.

A deceptively unassuming yet substantial front door takes you into a hallway of breath-taking proportions. To the right is a huge sitting room with triple floor to ceiling bay French doors to the garden and an ornate Victorian fireplace. This is a room of dreams for a decorator with space to add furniture of substance and the good bones of a house which has been preserved and enjoyed for around 180 years.

The current owner runs a yoga business and often uses the second sitting room as a working fitness studio space, opening the full height French doors to the garden to add to the already calm and peaceful atmosphere of the room.

The light-filled hallway which is lit with lights strung with coloured and looped cord from Dyke and Dean, then steps down past a downstairs loo and understairs cupboard where the original wooden floorboards stop and beautiful ceramic tiles begin, covering the rest of the hallway floor. Before you reach the kitchen there is a utility room with washing machine and dryer and butlers sink plus space for dogs, boots, coats and household ephemera. Then to the kitchen: the floor of the spacious kitchen has tiles from the renowned Material Plans store in Lewes.

These are mirrored by external versions of the same tiles through the full height glass doors. Poured concrete worktop and bespoke cupboards painted a dusty pink with copper inlay details. This is another inviting and very large room with room enough for a substantial dining table and perhaps some comfy chairs to sit and read cookbooks or to hang out with the cook.

Turning a corner, the hallway continues to another reception room which is currently used as a cosy sitting room with stone mullioned windows overlooking the south facing stone seating area in the garden. The fireplace is surrounded by very old original Delft tiles. The hallway then leads to a massive wooden door opening to the garden. There’s more room for hanging coats and storing outdoor shoes here.

The lofty stairwell reminds you that you’re in a house and not just a part of a mansion. The scale of the interior is large and spacious. The stairwell has walls and room enough to make an impressive gallery area and is also lit with looped hanging lights which bring drama and echo the scale of the spaces. The first-floor hallway mirrors the ground floor with light flooding in from windows along the length of the corridor and give to views across the Sussex countryside. The immense and impressive main bedroom with adjoining bathroom reached via steps has the same footprint of the living room downstairs and also has three bay windows overlooking the garden. Two further good-sized bedrooms lead from the upstairs corridor, both with lovely views across the garden and in winter, to the sea. Family bathroom. And finally a beautiful bedroom with similar stone mullioned windows to the cosy sitting room downstairs and views across treetops to the sea.

There is a vast attic space running the full length of the property which has good standing room and could be converted to create further rooms in future.

The garden has four distinct areas all south facing and all with different characteristics and uses. There’s an old wellhead in the centre of the lawned area which dates back to Augustus Hare’s time in Holmhurst. During his travels as a highly successful travel writer he found this piece in Venice and brought it back to Hastings to form a focal point in his garden. It’s pleasing to know that he didn’t appropriate the wellhead from a standing palazzo but from a demolished building. Mr Hare dated it as no later than 12th century.
There is a decked area and a secret area surrounded by bamboos – quite possibly brought back by Augustus Hare from his travels. To the other side of the garden is a sloped part of the garden which would make a wonderful kitchen garden and which leads in turn to a gate and a garage beyond.

Holmhurst St Marys is in a unique elevated position with marvellous views yet close to the centre of Hastings and the seafront. Ten minutes drive to Battle Station – shaving valuable time off the journey to London for commuters in comparison with the train journey from Hastings. The house is also close to the Conquest Hospital. The countryside of Sussex is within easy access with riding, wild swimming and outstanding walking all within a few minutes of this unique home.

Number 4 is formed from a substantial central part of the mansion house which has been converted into 7 homes. All residents have a share of the freehold and are a part of the St Marys Residents Association. Service charges for the Association are £500 per annum and cover charges for communal gardens, parking areas, lighting, electric gates. The roof above each home is the responsibility of the individual homeowner. We understand that the roof above No 4 is in good condition.



Service Charge:


Ground Rent:


Local Authority:


Council Tax:

£3699 pa

Approx Monthly Utility Bills:



Energy Efficiency Rating (Current): 60
Energy Efficiency Rating (Potential): 70


Energy rating


Holmhurst St Mary

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