The Old Rectory sits on the banks of the River Coln and a mill race, opposite the church in the attractive Cotswolds village of Quenington near Cirencester in Gloucestershire.
The detached house with coursed rubble stone and alternating flush quoins is said to have an early 18th-century core, extended to the north in the late 18th or early 19th century and again in the late 20th century.
The Grade II listed building has been home to the Abel Smith family since the 1980s, and it also houses the heart of the Abel Smith’s businesses.
The gardens comprise wide lawns joined by a bridge of the mill race, hidden pathways through mature trees, a very contemporary pergola, beautiful flower and vegetable beds and large impressive greenhouses, along with a tennis court and pool, which were put in by David Abel Smith’s family in the 1970s.
Among these are mature trees and plantings, a large vegetable garden, herbaceous borders, shade, a pool and a bog garden. This is a beautiful garden in a lovely setting and is well worth a visit for the whole family.
Set within the private 5-acre gardens and originally staff quarters for the main house, The Cottage is a self-contained accommodation with its own entrance. It has 2 upstairs bedrooms and a bathroom, and downstairs is the kitchen, cosy sitting room and laundry closet.
The Cottage has been recently refurbished with a new kingsize and 2 single beds, covered in Egyptian cotton linens, and is decorated with interesting artworks and objects from the owners’ collection as well as plenty of books.
The Cottage has its own private garden, but the owner’s 5-acre garden may be accessed with prior arrangement. There is a private heated swimming pool, which can be made available for occasional guest use, also by prior arrangement, for which an additional charge will be payable. The pool is not available year-round, shutting down from October to April.
Fresh Air Sculpture is a biennial sculpture show that takes place within the private 5-acre gardens. Set up by art collectors Lucy and David Abel Smith, the first Fresh Air Sculpture was held in the Quenington Old Rectory gardens in 1992.
Owner of the garden, Mrs Abel Smith, writes: “Three generations have enjoyed this garden and opened for the Red Cross. My mother-in-law’s family first came here in 1928, buying the Rectory from the church.
“They inherited a riverside garden of large deciduous trees and a copious kitchen garden, which they enlarged. David and Lucy Abel Smith have replanted extensively with the help of Robert Wyatt, gardener here, for over 30 years.
“We have retained the kitchen garden – all organic – borders and bog garden. We open every two years for Fresh Air – an outdoor sculpture exhibition run as a charity.”
The majority of the garden is accessible by wheelchair.
The Old Rectory is located opposite St Swithins Church at the bottom of the village of Quenington, some 20-odd-minutes drive from Burford, Faringdon or Carterton. The garden is well signed from the village.