Home from home for cricket fans and lovers of literature
This historic house comes with its own cricket field and some impressive literary claims to fame. Sharon Dale reports.
THE sound of leather on willow and the sight of newly-pressed whites on a pristine green field is a delight for many sports fans.
Now imagine the added pleasure of owning your very own cricket ground right next door to your house.
Diane and Graham Allan have enjoyed that rare feeling for the past 40 summers after buying an historic house that came with ownership of the Warley village cricket ground, near Halifax.
“It is unusual but it has been with the house for years, at least since the late 1800s and we have enjoyed it. It’s beautifully kept and there’s a gate from the garden that leads onto the field. Graham has watched quite a few matches over the years,” says Mrs Allan, who grew up in Warley.
She and her husband are hoping that the person who buys their beautiful 17th century home will feel the same way and will continue leasing the land to the local cricket club, which has built a pavilion and tea hut to serve players and visitors.
“When we bought the house we were told we might be able to build on the field, which was classed as brownfield land, but we wouldn’t have dreamt of doing that. It would have spoilt the outlook for the house and it just wouldn’t have been right for the village.
“We believe that the house and the cricket field should stay together. Fortunately, the land has now been reclassified for leisure use so hopefully that will offer some protection.”
If cricket is of no interest to the new owner, they may be more impressed with The Grange’s impressive literary connections.
It is said to have been home to the Rev Patrick Brontë for a short time and the writer Phyllis Bentley rented the property until the early 70s, writing part of her Inheritance trilogy there. The books, set in the West Riding’s textile industry, became a TV series starring John Thaw and James Bolam. She also wrote biographies of the Brontës.
Patrick Brontë would still recognise many of the property’s period features. Built in 1630 for a yeoman clothier, it still has its mullion windows. It also boasts an impressive stone fireplace in the dining room, which was put in by a previous owner, the Rev. Isaac Wilkinson, in 1711 and bears his initials.
The Allans, who have two grown-up children, have added their own touches since buying the house in 1972, including a stunning kitchen in what was a reception room.
The grade two listed Grange now has an entrance hall, two reception rooms, a study, cloakroom, kitchen with Aga, utility, a galleried landing, four bedrooms, a dressing room and two bathrooms. Outside, there is parking and gardens along with grazing land available by negotiation.
The property also has a great deal of potential, afforded by the separate coach house that comes with planning permission for conversion into a four-bedroom home.
All of its extras add up to an extraordinary offering, according to estate agent Stewart CharnockBates, who is marketing the house for £1m.
“Very rarely does such an opportunity present itself. The Grange is a focal point in the village of Warley and allows an individual to purchase a substantial detached home together with the ownership of the adjoining village cricket ground.
“It is a truly unique concept. The property is also of great historic importance, with previous occupants including Patrick Brontë and the esteemed novelist Phyllis Eleanor Bentley.”
Mr and Mrs Allan will certainly be sad to leave it all behind when they downsize.
“It has been a lovely family home and we have a lot of happy memories. It looks like an old, dark stone house from one side but walk through it and there is lots of light from the south-facing windows and it opens out onto the garden and cricket ground beyond. It’s a wonderful oasis,” says Mrs Allan.
“We hope that another family will buy it and be as happy as we have been here.”
The Grange is on the market for £1m with Charnock Bates, tel: 01422 380100, www.charnockbates.co.uk
The Grange, owned by Diane and Graham Allan, top, is full of period features and comes with ownership of the adjoining village cricket field. It has four bedrooms, two bathrooms and also has a coach house with planning permission for conversion into a four-bedroom home.