THE HOW DEVELOPMENT in ST IVES – MARKETING LAUNCH

THE VISION

Set within 17 acres of stunning parkland, we are creating a village that is in complete harmony with the beautiful countryside that surrounds it.

With a mix of tended areas and more wild areas left to nature, for everyone to enjoy. Homes and pockets of activity sit along a connecting spine that link the 5 hectares of Houghton Meadow within the historic grounds of The How itself.

Every home will be at the leading edge of energy efficiency and sustainability, with clever but discrete technology generating power and managing the temperature and air quality, so that you can live healthy, happy lives with a clear conscience.

The timing is perfect. Trends in work have changed for the better. Employers see the need for people to work away from the office – often actively encouraging it, at least for part of the week. People are more productive and happier when they have a better work/life balance.

Additionally, more and more people are choosing to leave the daily commute behind altogether and work for themselves. Whether it’s freelancing, consulting, or starting creative businesses on their own terms.

In addition to the stunning surroundings, The How benefits from being in one of the best-connected locations in the UK. It’s a dream for the self-employed looking to make the move to the countryside, with reliable, fast connectivity taking the stress out of working from home. Huntingdon Train Station is situated just over 5 miles away with direct access to London Kings Cross in less than an hour.

A healthy work/life balance is the key to living happy lives. Whether you run your own business, work from home part of the week, need a proper office or just want a change of scenery now and then, we’ve got it covered.

The nature of work has changed. People want to live cleaner, healthier lifestyles. They want to have sustainable options available to make choices that help them to minimise their impact on the environment. This profile of buyer want to enjoy life closer to nature. To feel connected to their environment in ways that city life has never been able to provide.

THE HISTORY OF THE HOW

The site of The How was part of the Manor of Slepe owned by Ramsey Abbey from the 10C. After the dissolution of the monasteries the Lawrence family acquired the Manor in 1539. And famously, between 1631 and 1636, Oliver Cromwell farmed some or all of this estate, renting it from Henry Lawrence, to whom he was related through marriage. The estate remained with the Lawrence family until Lt-Col Tayor White, the last owner, died impoverished in 1847 and the estate had to be sold. In 1849 the Ansley family bought Lot 15 – Green End Farm and the How lands (some of which they were already renting). For the Ansleys, this acquisition of new land was timely, because they had recently been obliged to sell some of their priory estate lands for the new railway line and station at the eastern end of St Ives.

In the early 19th century, the Ansley family owned most of the land between St Ives and Houghton. Their family seat was at Houghton Hill (now Houghton Hall), a Grade II listed building located 1.5km to the west of the development. 

The Ansley patriarch, John, was a merchant tailor who rose to become Lord Mayor of London in 1807. His two oldest sons were John Henry and Gilbert. Voting and census records suggest that the family had a home in Houghton by 1812. John Henry died in 1833, leaving three young children. In 1851, the oldest son, John Frederick, was at Trinity College, Cambridge. Tragedy struck the family when John Frederick was thrown from his horse whilst an undergraduate at Cambridge and he died aged 21. His younger brother, Gilbert John, was living at Houghton Hill with his uncle. At some point young Gilbert got married and moved to Green End, on the western edge of St Ives, where his children were born.

According to the Post Office Directory, in 1869 they were still living at Green End, but by the 1871 census, Gilbert and his family were living at The How. In 1873, Gilbert John Ansley owned over 462 acres of land in St Ives. 

It has been assumed that The How was built in 1868, the date engraved on a cornerstone located in the southeast corner of the building. This date agrees with the documentary records, which show the family moving from Green End to the How between 1869 and 1871. The stone reads on the east side ‘John Henry Ansley, June 30, AD1868’ and on the south side ‘Every house is builded by some man’.

The quote is from Hebrews 3:3-4: ‘For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man, but he that built all things is God’. Since this passage is interpreted to mean that the act of creating is greater than the creation, it is an oddly self-congratulatory sentiment. 

However, this is mitigated somewhat by the fact that the cornerstone has been inscribed with the name ‘John Henry Ansley’, not Gilbert John Ansley. It must have been Gilbert who had the house built, because the only John Henry Ansley alive at that point was Gilbert’s baby, who was born in 1864. Instead, he decided to honour his father John Henry Ansley and his son of the same name. Does the foundation stone refer poignantly to both his father and his son – the past and the future, united in the new house as the symbol of family and the House of Ansley.

According to the Listing Description, the How was built to a design by William White, a noted Victorian architect, and a family connection of the Ansleys. White’s designs anticipate the later Arts and Crafts style, which is evident at The How. In 1875, just 7 years after building The How, Gilbert John Ansley died aged 46. The Cambridge Chronicle of 23/01/1875 paid high tribute:

It is seldom we have to report a death so universally lamented in our neighbourhood as that of Mr G J Ansley who expired at his residence ‘The How’ on the 12th inst in the 46th year of his age. Alike in his public and private character, he had long been held in the highest esteem by all who knew him. He was ever ready to discharge the various duties which devolved upon him with an energy and kindness of manner which will be long remembered with admiration by his friends and neighbours. He may be said to have lived and died a truly Christian gentleman.

His widow Henrietta was still living at The How at the time of the 1881 census and at the time of the 1891 census. The 1898 Kelly’s Directory also has her listed as residing at The How. 

The How, a substantial seven bedroomed house, is built of pale-yellow bricks, locally called ‘gault’. The windows, chimney stacks and arches are outlined in crazy, zig zag patterns of contrasting red bricks. There is a rambling assortment of roof lines and heights – hipped and half-hipped, with decorative ties on the ridges. A delightful bell cote with a tall weathervane tops off the whole house. A group of stable buildings are positioned to the north, and at the entrance to the drive on the Houghton Road is the gate lodge. 

When Henrietta died in 1907, her property went to her son, Major John Henry Ansley, who probably sold the property soon after his mother’s death. In 1911, Mr. Hounsome, the groom/gardener and his wife and daughter were living at How Lodge, but there is no one recorded as living in the house. The 1914 Kelly’s Directory lists George Ranken Askwith, 1st Baron Askwith of St Ives, KCB, KC living at The How. A biography of Baron Askwith mentions that he and his wife Ellen, who married in 1908, were living at The How by at least 1909 (Heath 2013). Baron Askwith died in 1945 and Lady Askwith died in 1962. In the 1960s, the house was occupied by Cyril Maples Haigh, at one time the mayor of St Ives.

THE DEVELOPMENT

The world is changing. The nature of work has changed, and people need better balance, living cleaner, healthier lifestyles, with sustainability built in. They want to enjoy life closer to nature, and to feel connected to their environment in ways that city life has never been able to provide. The How has been designed and built with these key components at its core.

It starts with meaningful connections to the landscape. Clean air and enriching open spaces.

The unique countryside setting is so beautiful, we committed at the start to work with it, not against it. It would be easy to flatten it and build just another housing estate… but The How is destined to be very different and leave a long-lasting legacy which will be admired by generations to come.

Historic trails and bridleways are connected to the design. Step out of your front door, turn a corner and within minutes you can be out in nature, with picturesque countryside walks to explore at your leisure.

Homes are right for today and ready for tomorrow — contemporary, clean, and modern with a fabric first approach. This ensures a comfortable, low-energy home for life.

‘Fabric first’ may not be a term you’re familiar with, but it is changing the way new homes are designed and built. Fabric first uses cutting edge design, material technologies and specialist workmanship to minimise the need for heating and cooling, reducing heat loss and insulating beyond industry standards.

We’re also making best use of natural light, maximising heat gain in the cooler months and reducing it in the summer, so that homes can be both beautiful and energy efficient. Aesthetic doesn’t need to take a back seat to the need to reduce the impact of a home throughout its life.

Like everything across the village, they are designed and built with people in mind. There is abundant natural light flooding into the rooms, with glazed doors leading to outdoor spaces so you can really open up and enjoy the fresh air. Rooms are designed to be comfortable without creating dead areas that never get used.

We have worked hard to maximise the useful space so that you can benefit from every square inch of your investment, every day.

Every element of The How has been carefully considered to make sure we build the best place we can, so the community can flourish.

To register your interest and to be kept up to date with all the progress, visit The How website.

8 thoughts on “THE HOW DEVELOPMENT in ST IVES – MARKETING LAUNCH”

  1. Emma Kerjenski

    Hello, can you kindly add me to your progress updates.

    I would also like to register my interest in The How development when houses become available as we feel very strongly inclined to embrace the ethos intended.

    Many thanks

    Emma Kerjenski

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