Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

THE Old Town was once the heart of Bridling­ton and was quite sep­a­rate from the fish­ing port.

Over the years the two, which are a mile apart, have been linked by newer builds.

A con­ser­va­tion area, it boasts nu­mer­ous his­toric build­ings, in­clud­ing Bridling­ton Pri­ory. The Old Town also spawned one of Bri­tain’s most fa­mous 20th cen­tury ar­chi­tects, Fran­cis John­son, who died in 1995.

In­flu­enced by Clas­si­cal ar­chi­tec­ture and Ge­or­gian style, his legacy is an im­pres­sive col­lec­tion of houses, churches and restora­tions, in­clud­ing re­mod­elling Gar­rowby.

He also bought and re­stored Craven House on the High Street, which is still home to his epony­mous prac­tice.

“It was very sad and very frus­trat­ing af­ter all the work we had done. It is a large house even for two peo­ple and I had to de­cide whether to go there alone. We had in­vested so much ef­fort and love in it that I didn’t have to think about it for long,” says Pene­lope.

Mov­ing to a town where she knew barely any­one was a brave de­ci­sion but it paid off, helped by her plan to share the house as much as she could.

The Toft has been used as a re­treat for clergy and, un­til re­cently, it was part of the Quiet Gar­den Move­ment, which sees home own­ers of­fer their gar­den as place for peo­ple to rest and pray.

It has also hosted meet­ings of the Old Town As­so­ci­a­tion, of which Pene­lope was chair­per­son and, more re­cently, been a hub for plan­ning the pri­ory’s 900th an­niver­sary.

“We also cre­ated our own ‘blue plaque’ to ex­plain the his­tory of the house and if I see peo­ple read­ing it out­side I’ll some­times ask if they want to have a look round,” says Pene­lope. “When they see the draw­ing room for the first time they are knocked side­ways by it.

There are al­ways lots of “oohs and aahs”. Not only at the fea­tures but at the space and the enor­mous gar­den.

The house is on three floors and has a draw­ing room, din­ing room, sit­ting room, study, break­fast kitchen, util­ity, six bed­rooms, three bath­rooms and a sec­ond­floor apart­ment.

“My favourite is the draw­ing room but I also love the bath­room door frame. I have no idea why it is so elab­o­rate and grand. It is bizarre,” says Pene­lope, who will be greatly missed when she leaves the Old Town to down­size and move closer to her chil­dren.

“It’s a won­der­ful house and I’ve re­ally en­joyed liv­ing here. The Old Town is as­ton­ish­ingly beau­ti­ful to look at and it has a strong cul­tural fo­cus with gal­leries and sev­eral good places to eat.

“Peo­ple talk about Whitby and Scarborough but Bridling­ton has so much go­ing for it and I didn’t re­alise that my­self un­til I moved here.”

The Toft, High Street, Bridling­ton, is for sale with Jack­son Stops and Staff for £435,000, tel: 01904 625033 , www.jack­son-stops.co.uk. For de­tails of The Pri­ory open day visit www.pri­ory900.org.

The din­ing room fea­tures orig­i­nal 17th cen­tury pan­elling, door­ways are elab­o­rate and out­side there is a 150-year-old knot gar­den.

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