The Caroe family have lived at Vann for over 112 years. The house is steeped in history with additions to the original timber-framed 16th century house in every century, the most recent in 1907 by W.D.Caröe. Occupied in the 15th and 17th centuries by the mayors of Guildford, ownership has been traced from 1180 to the present day.
The unique Water Garden by Gertrude Jekyll in 1911 links a succession of small ponds fed by the cascade from the quarter-acre pond, dredged in 2017, crossed by stone paths and bridges banked with lush vegetation and 1,500 water-loving plants supplied by Miss Jekyll from her Munstead nursery. The stream flows down to a wild White Garden, a blanket of snowdrops in February succeeded by narcissi, white fritillaries and martagon lilies, before disappearing into the coppiced woodland beyond.
To the north, the stream enters the garden and runs through the Yew Walk (1909) in a rhyll banked by dry-stone Bargate walls and enclosed by large yew hedges radically reduced over the past three years. This formal “room”, originally a rose garden has been replanted with foliage plants and bulbs because of depredations by deer, to give year round interest. Island beds in the orchard allow for experiment with more “modern” plants.
In the double mixed borders (created in 1992) in the vegetable garden, plants of special interest to the horticulturalist abound. Pears and peaches, recently replaced, fruit on the unusual crinkle-crankle wall.
Both the house and garden are registered 2* by English Heritage.
Vann’s natural informality and rural setting exude the very best of English country gardens and in recent years, the house and garden have been used as a filming location for the Disney’s Christopher Robin and the BBC’s 2017 adaptation of EM Forster’s Howards End (both featuring Hayley Atwell!)
David Suchet and the Poirot film crew have also used the house as a filming location for two episodes of the long-running ITV series based on Agatha Christie’s popular novels.