Prop­erty Mar­ket

Some­times size doesn’t mat­ter when you’re look­ing for a spe­cial prop­erty

Country Life Every Week - - Contents - Penny Churchill

Size doesn’t mat­ter when it comes to charm for Penny Churchill

LAUNCHED on the mar­ket last week, at a guide price of £5 mil­lion through Strutt & Parker (020–7629 7282), Grade Ii-listed The Hall (Fig 1) at Shudy Camps, Cam­bridgeshire, is a strik­ing Queen Anne coun­try house set in 29 acres of pic­turesque park­land, 15 miles south-east of Cam­bridge and close to the bor­ders of es­sex and Suf­folk. Once the heart of an im­por­tant farm­ing es­tate, the el­e­gant red-brick house has been bril­liantly re­stored and re­in­stated within its orig­i­nal park by its cur­rent own­ers, Christo­pher and Sarah Field, who moved there with their young fam­ily in Jan­uary 2005.

With 10,850sq ft of ‘partly live­able’ space on three floors to con­tend with, the task fac­ing the Fields was a daunt­ing one. ‘There were draughts and leaks ev­ery­where and, for the first five years, the house was cov­ered in scaf­fold­ing,’ Mrs Field re­calls. With her hus­band work­ing in the City, it fell to her to over­see the ren­o­va­tion, but, grad­u­ally, the pieces of the jig­saw came to­gether.

Ac­cord­ing to Vic­to­ria County His­tory, The Hall, orig­i­nally known as Shudy Camps Park, was built in 1698– 1702 by Sir Mar­maduke dayrell, who in­her­ited his in­ter­est in Shudy Camps manor from his el­der brother, Sir Fran­cis. The new house con­sisted of ‘a long nar­row front range, later re­mod­elled and height­ened, and an ir­reg­u­lar block at the back, re­con­structed in the mid 1800s in Tu­dor style, with of­fices and sta­bles to the south’.

Pre­sum­ably, this ‘Tu­dor style’ build­ing is the present, three-bed­room ‘el­iz­a­bethan House’ listed by english Her­itage in 2002, when it was de­scribed as ‘a house (circa 1700) for­merly a ser­vice range to Study Camps Park’.

For al­most 200 years, suc­ces­sive dayrell heirs—most named al­ter­nately Mar­maduke and Fran­cis— took on the es­tate, which pros­pered at first, but grad­u­ally de­clined un­til, in 1898, the Rev Richard dayrell sold it, heav­ily in­debted, to one Arthur Gee. Gee died five years later and, in 1904, the prin­ci­pal lo­cal landowner, the Rev G. F. Thorn­ton, vicar of Shudy Camps and Canon emer­i­tus of ely Cathe­dral, bought more than 300 acres, in­clud­ing the house and park, which, af­ter his death, were sold again when the es­tate was bro­ken up in 1939.

Req­ui­si­tioned by the mil­i­tary dur­ing the Sec­ond World War, the house and park were sold sev­eral times in the 20th cen­tury, be­fore be­ing res­cued by the cur­rent own­ers.

And what a res­cue op­er­a­tion it has been! In ad­di­tion to a thor­ough ren­o­va­tion and up­grade of the en­tire house, the Fields have cre­ated a splen­did new kitchen/din­ing area in the east wing, rais­ing the roof to in­sert a vaulted ceil­ing. The match­ing west-wing ex­ten­sion at the other end of the house has been trans­formed into a gym and cinema room, with a golf sim­u­la­tor and a fun, Amer­i­can diner-themed kitchen. The for­mer gate lodge and en­trance to Shudy Camps Park have been ac­quired and rein­te­grated into the grounds of The Hall.

In ad­di­tion to the two ex­ten­sions, the main house of­fers five prin­ci­pal re­cep­tion rooms, a snug, a bil­liards room, a cel­lar with two spa­cious wine stores, a mas­ter suite with an en-suite bath­room, a shower room and two dress­ing rooms, six fur­ther bed­rooms, four bath/shower rooms and a sec­ond-floor games room.

Su­perb eques­trian fa­cil­i­ties in­clude sta­bling for four horses, a full-size dres­sage arena and eight post-and-railed pad­docks. A new ten­nis court has been laid down and a heated out­door pool in­stalled in an en­closed gar­den area with a cov­ered wooden per­gola/bar­be­cue house.

The sport­ing Field boys have en­joyed a bliss­ful child­hood at The Hall, but, hav­ing reached uni­ver­sity

‘For five years, it was cov­ered in scaf­fold­ing’

‘Not huge, but with no wasted space’

age, are spend­ing less and less time there. With Mr Field spend­ing half the week at their Lon­don flat in pref­er­ence to a daily com­mute, the Fields have de­cided to down­size to a smaller house in the area, al­though their sons are un­der­stand­ably dis­mayed at the prospect of los­ing their favourite week­end and party venue.

An­other clas­sic coun­try house launched ear­lier this month by the Mar­ket Harborough of­fice of Strutt & Parker (01858 433123) is the beau­ti­fully ren­o­vated Old Rec­tory (Fig 2) at Tin­well, near Stam­ford, Rut­land, for which ‘of­fers over £2m’ are be­ing sought. His­tor­i­cally owned by the sur­round­ing Burgh­ley es­tate, from whom the present own­ers pur­chased it some 16 years ago, The Old Rec­tory, listed Grade II, stands op­po­site Tin­well’s lovely All Saints Church, with its un­usual sad­dle­back roof, added in about 1350.

The for­mer rec­tory was the birth­place of Thomas Lax­ton, who prac­tised as a so­lic­i­tor in Stam­ford be­fore con­cen­trat­ing on his main in­ter­est, the hy­bridi­s­a­tion of plants; he’s prob­a­bly best known for the de­vel­op­ment of the Lax­ton’s Su­perb and Lax­ton’s For­tune ap­ples, the Royal Sov­er­eign straw­berry and the Thomas Lax­ton pea.

The 5,000sq ft house, which dates mainly from the early 19th cen­tury and in­cor­po­rates an ear­lier ser­vice wing to the rear, is de­scribed by sell­ing agent Ed­ward Brassey as ‘not huge, but with no wasted space’— a claim borne out by the own­ers’ in­ge­nu­ity in ar­rang­ing the in­te­rior to pro­vide flex­i­ble fam­ily liv­ing space, in­clud­ing three main re­cep­tion rooms, a break­fast kitchen, a play­room, six bed­rooms (three with en-suite bath­rooms) and a fam­ily bath­room.

A build­ing in the grounds has been con­verted into a one-bed­room cot­tage, which has proved to be a highly suc­cess­ful hol­i­day let. Listed-build­ing con­sent has been granted for a Vale Gar­den House con­ser­va­tory on the rear ter­race.

The Old Rec­tory comes with just un­der 1½ acres of im­mac­u­late gar­dens and grounds, the main body set to lawn with high stone walls on the bound­ary and di­vided by ma­ture trees, bor­ders and yew hedges. In the north-east cor­ner is a grass ten­nis court and an old stone-and-wood pony sta­ble, with its orig­i­nal loose box. A fur­ther 4.8 acres of pad­dock ad­join­ing the gar­den bound­ary may be avail­able to lease from the Burgh­ley es­tate.

‘For envy too small, for con­tempt too great’ is the motto in­scribed— with the date 1777—above the front door of a north Cotswold gem, Grade Ii-listed To­den­ham Hall (Fig 3), a hand­some, Ge­or­gian for­mer rec­tory set in 11 acres of gar­dens, grounds and pad­docks, in the vil­lage of To­den­ham, three miles north-east of More­ton-in-marsh in Gloucestershire.

Ex­ten­sively re­fur­bished in 2006, the house, which has 17th-cen­tury or ear­lier ori­gins, of­fers 5,010sq ft of liv­ing space on three floors, in­clud­ing a re­cep­tion/stair­case hall, three im­pres­sive re­cep­tion rooms, a fab­u­lous be­spoke kitchen/break­fast room, six bed­rooms, four bath­rooms, a play­room/cinema room and a bell tower.

It comes with a sub­stan­tial, twobed­room coach house, like­wise re­stored and en­larged in 2006. Strutt & Parker (01608 650502) quote a guide price of £4.5m.

Fig 1: El­e­gant The Hall at Shudy Camps in Cam­bridgeshire had been lov­ingly re­stored into the per­fect fam­ily home. £5m

Fig 3: To­den­ham Hall is just three miles from More­ton-in-marsh, Gloucestershire. £4.5m

Fig 2: Flex­i­ble fam­ily liv­ing is a breeze at the clas­sic Old Rec­tory at Tin­well, Rut­land. ‘Of­fers over £2m’

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