Prop­erty Mar­ket

De­spite Brexit and Stamp Duty jit­ters, life goes on in this sought-after area

Country Life Every Week - - Contents - Penny Churchill

Life goes on in the Cotswolds, re­ports Penny Churchill

WHen­ever the dreaded ‘un­cer­tainty’ threat­ens to de­rail the smooth work­ings of the coun­try-house mar­ket, there’s usu­ally a crumb or two of com­fort to be gleaned in the Cotswolds. Hap­pily, that still ap­pears to be the case. Although recog­nis­ing that Brexit has re­sulted in a ‘patchy’ mar­ket across the coun­try as a whole, in the past few weeks, Atty Beor-roberts of Knight Frank in Cirences­ter has seen an en­cour­ag­ing num­ber of deals be­ing done on clas­sic fam­ily houses in Ox­ford­shire and Glouces­ter­shire.

Buy­ers have de­cided they should just get on with it

‘Most have in­volved Lon­don or re­gional buy­ers who have picked them­selves up, dusted them­selves down, de­cided they still have a life to lead, and should just get on with it,’ he re­ports. For ex­am­ple, on May 18, we launched two houses in need of com­plete mod­erni­sa­tion, The Grange and Manor House in the vil­lage of Lit­tle Tew, near Chip­ping nor­ton, Ox­ford­shire, at guide prices of £2.75 mil­lion and £3.6 mil­lion re­spec­tively. Both are now un­der of­fer, hav­ing at­tracted more than 100 view­ings be­tween them.’

Houses sold in­clude The Gar­den House at We­ston­birt, Glouces­ter­shire —built by the Arts-and-crafts ar­chi­tect nor­man Jew­son in 1939—which ex­changed and com­pleted in June at a guide price of £4m; Ship­ton Manor at Ship­ton-on-cher­well, Ox­ford­shire, sold this month against a guide price of £6.5m; and Mul­berry House, a new Cotswold stone house set in 15 acres of land on Leck­hamp­ton Hill near Chel­tenham, which launched in May and found a buyer at a guide price of £4.25m.

‘Peo­ple buy­ing in the Cotswolds are mainly look­ing for fam­ily houses where they ex­pect to live for at least 10–15 years, with chil­dren’s school­ing the prime mo­ti­va­tion. Hav­ing made their de­ci­sion to move to the Cotswolds, where good houses are al­ways in short sup­ply, such buy­ers are less likely to be put off by un­ex­pected events’, Mr Beor-roberts ex­plains.

Although the wool trade was largely re­spon­si­ble for the pros­per­ity of the Cotswolds, the re­gion’s char­ac­ter was de­fined by the abun­dance of build­ing stone found through­out the area, which has been used since me­dieval times by lo­cal crafts­men, of­ten to build en­tire vil­lages.

Knight Frank (01285 659771) are han­dling the sale of an­other sig­nif­i­cant Arts-and-crafts house, Fosse Hill ( Fig 1) in the ru­ral vil­lage of Coates, Glouces­ter­shire, whose name de­rives from the sheep pens (‘cotes’) that once lit­tered the area and gave the Cotswold re­gion its name. The agents quote a guide price of £3.25m for Fosse Hill, built by Jew­son in the early 1920s and re­mod­elled and ren­o­vated by its cur­rent own­ers dur­ing the past 12 years.

Ap­proached through elec­tric gates along a lovely tree-lined drive, the roomy, 6,085sq ft house, set in more than eight acres of im­mac­u­late gardens, grounds and pad­docks, boasts a wealth of nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als, in­clud­ing wooden and lime­stone floor­ing, brick and stone fire­places, ex­posed tim­bers and stone-mul­lioned win­dows.

Ac­com­mo­da­tion on three floors ( Fig 2) in­cludes three main re­cep­tion rooms, six bed­rooms and three bath­rooms. Wor­thy of note are the dou­ble-as­pect draw­ing room over­look­ing the gar­den and the splen­did kitchen/ break­fast/ liv­ing room, in which sev­eral small rooms have been merged to form one large, open-plan, fam­ily liv­ing area.

‘Even the Cotswolds hasn’t been im­mune to the ef­fects of Brexit or, more im­por­tantly, the pun­ish­ing new Stamp Duty regime that has se­ri­ously af­fected the up­per end of the coun­try-house mar­ket,’ says Sam But­ler of Cotswold agents But­ler Sher­born, whose firm cel­e­brates its 25th an­niver­sary in Septem­ber. ‘Nev­er­the­less, there are buy­ers out there and, if they see what they want, they are pre­pared to go for it and the deals tend to stick.’

He adds: ‘ Although there’s not a huge choice of houses to buy at the mo­ment, so far, we’ve man­aged to re­place ones that have sold with an­other of sim­i­lar cal­i­bre.’

Hav­ing found a buyer at a guide price of £2.25m for Barn House at Bibury near Cirences­ter, Glouces­ter­shire— a for­mer stone barn, built in about 1800, con­verted in 1923 and set in 8½ acres on the edge of the vil­lage once de­scribed by Wil­liam Mor­ris as ‘the most beau­ti­ful in Eng­land’—but­ler Sher­born (01285 883740) are of­fer­ing one of Bibury’s land­mark houses, The Walled Gar­den ( Fig 3), at a guide price of £2.85m.

Built by a well-known lo­cal builder be­tween 1986 and 1988 for its present own­ers, An­drew and Anne John­ston, for­mer own­ers of the pres­ti­gious Bibury Court Ho­tel (now a pri­vate house), The Walled Gar­den is a hugely im­pres­sive, Ge­or­gian- style house, hid­den away in a oneacre walled-gar­den set­ting close to the for­mer ho­tel and the vil­lage church. Its 5,630sq ft of light and well-pro­por­tioned ac­com­mo­da­tion is ar­ranged over three floors and in­cludes two main re­cep­tion rooms, a gar­den room, a study, a kitchen/ break­fast room, five/six bed­rooms and three bath­rooms.

Also in Glouces­ter­shire and fresh to the mar­ket this week, at a guide price of £2.95m through Sav­ills in Stow-on-the-wold (01451 832832), comes the de­light­ful Bob­ble Barn Farm­house ( Fig 4), with just un­der 40 acres of land over­look­ing the Win­drush val­ley, at Lit­tle riss­ing­ton, five miles from Stow.

orig­i­nally a thresh­ing barn with ad­join­ing sta­bles, Bob­ble Barn Farm­house, listed Grade II, dates from the late 1700s and was first con­verted in 1986, then ex­tended and re­fur­bished by the cur­rent own­ers in 2001.

Sur­rounded by es­tab­lished gardens laid out as a se­ries of ‘rooms’, the house stands in the cen­tre of its land and works equally well as a small, man­age­able stud farm or as a coun­try house with use­ful amenity land, the agents say. Its 5,710sq ft of ver­sa­tile, rus­tic ac­com­mo­da­tion in­cludes re­cep­tion and in­ner halls, three main re­cep­tion rooms, a study, a kitchen/ break­fast room, a gar­den room, five bed­rooms and three bath/ shower rooms.

The eques­trian fa­cil­i­ties are sec­ond to none and com­prise an Amer­i­canstyle barn with 16 sta­bles, a pole barn, stores and lofts, an out­door manège and a test­ing, 4½-fur­long, up­hill, all-weather gal­lop.

Fig 1: Arts-and-crafts Fosse Hill is in the ru­ral vil­lage of Coates, Glouces­ter­shire. £ 3.25m

Fig 2: Fosse Hill’s lov­ingly ren­o­vated in­te­ri­ors in­clude the kitchen/ break­fast/ fam­ily room ( top) and the spa­cious en­trance hall ( above)

Fig 4: Bob­ble Barn Farm­house at Stowon-the-wold, Glouces­ter­shire, has su­perb eques­trian fa­cil­i­ties. £ 2.95m

Fig 3: The Walled Gar­den at Bibury, in Glouces­ter­shire, is a modern house with charm. £2.85m

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