Art of the good life in a beautiful family home
WITH two creative owners using their combined talents it’s little wonder that Croft House is so beautiful both inside and out.
Molly Brocklesby, who was an interior designer, and her late husband Malcolm, a wellknown sculptor, bought the property 50 years ago after being seduced by its setting and its potential.
“It was an Elizabethan long house and cottage covered in ivy, when we first saw it and I thought it was wonderful,” says Mrs Brocklesby.
The couple transformed the 17th century property and its adjoining cottage into an idyllic family home, retaining its period features, restoring the five original open fireplaces and decorating in a style sympathetic to its long history. The garden and one and half acre grounds, which are bounded by the River Dolphin, have also been treated to a magnificent makeover with extensive planting, box hedging and a tennis court.
“My husband called himself the reluctant lawnmower so I did the gardens and enjoyed it immensely. He was very proud of them,” says Mrs Brocklesby.
Malcolm Brocklesby, a former mining engineer, active member of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England and founder of the Oulton Civic Society, was far happier spending his time sculpting in his studio above the garage block.
His sculptures were carved from polystyrene blocks, which would be coated in glass fibre and a resin finish. He also made smaller pieces from plasticine and wax to be cast in bronze.
His work is to be found in numerous collections in Yorkshire and beyond. His bestknown pieces include The Defenders at Helmsley Castle and his Madonna of the Cross on the high altar at Mount Grace Priory.
Mrs Brocklesby and her daughters Julia and Nicki have donated a second Madonna to Ripon Cathedral and it is now on display there.
The family is selling Croft House to downsize. The grade II listed property has a reception hall, drawing room, study, dining room, breakfast room, kitchen with Aga, breakfast area, walk-in pantry, utility room, garden room, sitting room and a large bedroom suite with adjoining dressing room and bathroom. The first floor has five double bedrooms and two bathrooms. Outside, there is a walled forecourt with parking for several cars, a detached double garage block with studio above, south-facing gardens with bespoke stone and timber summer house, a barbecue area, all weather tennis court and meadowland with cherry, pear and apple trees leading to the riverside, which has a path and woodland running alongside it.
”It is going to be very hard to leave here. It’s such a lovely house and beautiful setting by the river,” says Mrs Brocklesby. “We have been here for such a long time and we really have loved it and had a very happy life here.”