12 bedroom House for sale


Bembridge, Isle of Wight, PO35 5PG

Key features:

Steyne Wood Battery was built by the Ministry of Defence between 1889-1894 with the purpose of providing a defensive position on the eastern coastline of the Isle of Wight overlooking the anchorage of St Helens Roads and the approaches to Nab Passage. Its purpose was to protect this part of the coastline by preventing ships lying off Sandown and bombarding the Royal Navy Fleet in Portsmouth Harbour. It became a scheduled monument in 2015, being one of the best surviving Victorian Batteries and, as such, all the bomb proof shelters, ammunition stores, gun positions and defensive structures in the surrounding grounds remain intact.

The Battery was bought from the MOD by Sir John Thornycroft in 1909 and has remained in the same family as a private residence ever since providing a wonderful home for generations, friends and as a venue for parties and weddings, as well as anyone with a keen interest in British military or wartime history. A versatile arrangement centred around a stunning detached house, three of the original buildings in the grounds (The Guard House, Forge and Shell Cottage) provide self-contained cottages and would be ideally used as ancillary or holiday let accommodation. The house itself benefits from an adjacent three-bedroom annexe, a swimming pool, lawn tennis court and some stunning woodland walks beyond the iconic earthwork bund line around the house. This fascinating and diverse property located on the western fringe of the popular coastal village of Bembridge also lies in close proximity to Culver Down and an area of outstanding natural beauty, in addition to Bembridge airport and the beautiful beach at Whitecliff Bay. The grounds extend to approximately 18 acres and of particular note, the Listed (Grade II) boat testing facility that was built by Sir John Thornycroft, who founded the ship building company Thornycroft & Co here in Bembridge.  

Summary of Accommodation  

Main House (Lot 1)  

Ground Floor

Snug | Drawing Room | Sitting Room | Dining Room | Family Room | Open Plan Kitchen and Breakfast Room | Sunroom | Additional kitchen | Utility room | Six bedrooms | Three bathrooms 


Three Bedrooms | Family Bathroom | Kitchen | Sitting Room | Shower Room 

Shell Cottage

Two Bedrooms | Open Plan Kitchen and Breakfast Room | Family Bathroom 

The Old Forge

One Bedroom | Kitchen | Sitting Room | Family Bathroom 


18 acres of beautiful gardens, woodland, and original defensive earthworks | Swimming Pool | Various Gun Emplacements & Ammunition Stores | Bridged Walkways | Lawn Tennis Court | Driveway with Parking for Several Cars 


Boat Testing Tank | Workshop/Garage | Garden Stores & Chicken Coup| Plant Room 

The Guard House (Lot 2)

Three Bedrooms | Two Bathrooms | Kitchen | Sitting Room | Large Deck & Gardens of Approx. 0.35 Acre 


Bembridge Harbour 2.5 miles. Fishbourne 11 miles. Ryde 7.6 miles (with high-speed passenger links to Portsmouth, connecting with trains to London Waterloo) (All distances are approximate)  

The Island

Only 23 miles by 13 miles, and a short sea crossing from the mainland, the Island has a unique atmosphere boasting many attributes, not least of which is its slower pace of life and its own microclimate. It enjoys unspoilt villages and fine seaside resorts with many miles of impressive coastal scenery. With safe sandy beaches, it is a place for sailing, windsurfing and swimming, ideal for both young and old.  


There are many ways of crossing The Solent to the Island. If travelling by car there is a choice of three routes all with frequent services: including, Portsmouth to Fishbourne (45 minutes). If travelling on foot there is a fast and frequent catamaran service from Portsmouth to Ryde (15 minutes) and a similar service from Southampton to Cowes (23 minutes), both connecting with regular mainline train services to London Waterloo. There is also a hovercraft from Southsea to Ryde, taking 10 minutes. To the west of Bembridge village is a small private aerodrome. Southampton Airport is also within easy reach, on the mainland. The Island is an international sailing mecca with many events throughout the season. The most famous is Cowes Week. In addition, there are many premier yacht and sailing clubs including nearby Bembridge Sailing Club and Brading Haven Yacht Club.  


The Village has a good range of small shops for everyday needs, including an excellent fishmonger with freshly caught fish, a farm shop, a butcher, delicatessen and several good restaurants. A more comprehensive range of shopping facilities is available in the county town of Newport (13 miles) and the nearby town of Ryde (7 miles). Photo caption Located close to the eastern most point of The Island, Bembridge Harbour has extensive mooring facilities and two sailing clubs and there are wonderful coastal walks and sandy beaches accessible directly from the property. There are shallow beaches, perfect for swimming, kite-surfing and beach-combing. 

Steyne Wood Battery Main House

The Jewel of Steyne Wood Battery in the centre of the grounds with a long sweeping driveway passing The Guard House is the charming Main House currently arranged into two parts housing two generations of the same family. There is a wealth of period character, original features and spacious family accommodation. The grand reception rooms highlight many of the original features, fireplaces and exposed beams. The architecture, typical of its era, brings in plenty of natural light allowing a stunning outlook over the surrounding gardens. There are two well-equipped and substantial kitchen/dining rooms, one housing a gas fired Aga, whilst the other incorporates a superb sunroom enjoying views over the formal gardens, swimming pool and woodland beyond. The dining room is of excellent proportions and various generous family reception rooms are ideal for entertaining. First floor accommodation extends to five bedrooms and two bathrooms, and there is a further bedroom with ensuite on the ground floor.  


The Annexe is a particularly unique timber clad structure, originally forming the nursery wing to the house and now offers two/three bedrooms of accommodation with two bathrooms, parking and gardens wrapping around the veranda. 

The Guard House (Lot 2)

Boasting equivalent character and charm to the main house, The Guard House enjoys views over its own grounds extending to the south. Constructed as part of the original battery to house the guards and still with the original cell complete with serving hatch and secure doors. Under separate ownership, this element is included within the Estate and has a unique upside-down arrangement incorporating a spacious reception and kitchen area overlooking the gardens with large, decked veranda in addition to three bedrooms and two bathrooms and a large sitting room with high, multi arch brick ceiling. The open plan kitchen incorporates a full range of storage units, double oven, hob and sink and opens out to a dual aspect open plan sitting room with impressive hand carved fireplace.  

Shell Cottage

Originally providing an ammunition store for The Battery, Shell Cottage now offers a well-equipped two-bedroom cottage ideally used as ancillary accommodation to the main house or as a holiday let. It is situated amongst the fascinating gun emplacements and woodland with its own parking and direct access to the grounds.  

Forge Cottage

Smaller than its neighbouring Shell Cottage, Forge Cottage is dated but equally versatile, with a one bedroom one bathroom arrangement with the addition of a sitting room and small kitchen area. 

Thornycroft Boat Testing Facility

An attraction for enthusiasts this iconic tank is one of the first buildings of this scale to be constructed using poured concrete and is a fine example among very few surviving in England which later became a Listed (Grade II) building. Built in 1910 for John L Thornycroft with the purpose of providing the facility to test the resistance of model boats construction was designed for the engineering firm L.G Michelle and is where Thornycroft daughter, Blanche (the first woman to be accepted into the Institute of Naval Architects) perfected boat hull design of national significance, both naval and civil. 


The grounds of Steyne Wood Battery are quite magical, with level formal gardens wrapping around the house with beautiful well-tended and colourful borders, rose walks and archways offering the most delightful of backdrops to this stunning property. Close to the house there is a large, swimming pool and lawn tennis court aside the former parade ground which are simply wonderful features adding to an unrivalled overall package. Beyond the formal gardens the defensive earthworks provide a moat like boundary where there are various bridges and walkways connecting the different gardens and lead onto The Guard House, formal gun emplacements and surrounding mature and planted woodland which boasts a range of species. There is plenty to explore walking around the 18-acre estate with addition to small radio mast used by the emergency services, located deep into the woodland upon leased land with a return to the owners of around £2,500 pa. A sweeping approach leads through the gated entrance past the Guard House and up to the house. There is also a back driveway and various auxiliary gates providing vehicular access onto the estate. 


An extensive garage & store is found on the driveway opposite The Guard House and hidden beneath an arched entrance in the earthwork defences. The garage expands into a high-pitched roof workshop & boat store with bi-folding boatshed doors on one side and a separate garden workshop to the other. There are concrete floors, power and lighting laid on.  

Services & Miscellaneous

Mains electricity and water. Private septic tank drainage for the house and Guard House and heating is provided by gas boiler in The Guard House and Annexe, whilst there is oil fired heating and a gas Aga in the main house. Shell Cottage and Forge Cottage both have electric heating.  

EPC Ratings

House – E

House Annexe - F

Guard House – D

Shell Cottage - E 


The property is offered freehold.  


PO35 5PG 


All viewings will be strictly by prior arrangement with the sole selling agents: Spence Willard 

Important Notice:

1. Particulars: These particulars are not an offer or contract, nor part of one. You should not rely on statements by Spence Willard in the particulars or by word of mouth or in writing ("information") as being factually accurate about the property, its condition or its value. Neither Spence Willard nor any joint agent has any authority to make any representations about the property, and accordingly any information given is entirely without responsibility on the part of the agents, seller(s) or lessor(s). 2. Photos etc: The photographs show only certain parts of the property as they appeared at the time they were taken. Areas, measurements and distances given are approximate only. 3. Regulations etc: Any reference to alterations to, or use of, any part of the property does not mean that any necessary planning, building regulations or other consent has been obtained. A buyer or lessee must find out by inspection or in other ways that these matters have been properly dealt with and that all information is correct. 4. VAT: The VAT position relating to the property may change without notice.  

Wight Agent:

Spence Willard

Spence Willard
Bembridge Office Grove House, Sherbourne Street Bembridge PO35 5SB

Tel 01983 873000
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