Smart conversion: the derelict farm now a country home with class
THE farm cottage, shippon, dairy and hay barn that were converted to create Sirebank House stand as straight as the day they were built, according to owner Peter Thornton.
He should know. He has researched the history of the area and the buildings and surrounding land have belonged to his family since his late father Herbert bought them in 1932.
“The whole site is on outcrop rock,” says Peter, who adds that the smallholding was created in 1800 after an act of Parliament ordered more farm land to be created.
“Entrepreneur Langden Sunderland was given the task of turning Bradley Moor into farm land. He was given a stretch of road to get to his site and an abundance of millstone grit was used to create the field boundary walls and a farm house with buildings. The unusual thing was that Sunderland put the whole lot into one building.”
The property was derelict when Herbert Thornton bought it along with the 37 acres he wanted to farm. That changed in 1993 when Peter and his wife Angela began a remarkable renovation project.
With plans drawn up by Laurie Cordingley, the couple turned the buildings, which had stood empty for ninety years, into a fabulous family home.
They managed to retain manty of the original features, including the beams, a tethering ring in the sitting room where a horse was once stabled and two original fireplaces, one in the hall and another in a bedroom.
The vaulted cellar, with original flagged floor and stone benches, was once the dairy and the milk would be passed there from the cowshed via hole in the wall.
Above the shippon was the hay barn and during the winter months hay was dropped through a hole in the floor into a fodder gang in front of ten tethered cows.
Twice a day, the cows would be released for exercise. Their original water trough is now a feature in the pretty garden.
“The buildings took about 18 months to convert and we also put a new access road in but it was all very worthwhile. I’d always admired the position of the building, which is why we decided to take on the challenge of renovating it and it has been a wonderful place to live. It’s very private and the views are amazing,” says Peter, who is selling to downsize.
Sirebank House has a large reception hall, cloakroom, sitting room, conservatory, dining room, study, kitchen with Aga, a utility room and cellar. Upstairs, there is a master bedroom with dressing area and en-suite, three further bedrooms and a house bathroom.
The property also has a double garage, parking and gardens set in one acre. Another major selling point is the power generating wind turbine, which supplies half the household’s electricity.