Prop­erty mar­ket

It takes sense, sen­si­bil­ity and not much per­sua­sion to recog­nise the ap­peal of these beau­ti­ful houses in and around Bath

Country Life Every Week - - Contents -

Ar­guably bath’s most fa­mous res­i­dent, Jane austen lived in the city from the time of her fa­ther’s re­tire­ment un­til shortly af­ter his death, a pe­riod of five years from 1801 to 1806. Dur­ing her stay, she wrote the novel Per­sua­sion and, later, Sense and Sen­si­bil­ity—con­cepts that ap­pear to res­onate per­fectly with the city’s es­tate agents in to­day’s un­pre­dictable prop­erty mar­ket.

‘at a time when sen­si­ble pric­ing has never been so im­por­tant, some ven­dors still take a lot of per­suad­ing to lower their sights, es­pe­cially in and around the World Her­itage City of bath, which is renowned both for the beauty of its geor­gian ar­chi­tec­ture and the qual­ity of the houses to be found in the sur­round­ing vil­lages,’ says Char­lie Tay­lor of Knight Frank.

although busi­ness gen­er­ally has slowed this year, he re­veals, off-mar­ket sales and sales to ex­pa­tri­ate and overseas buyers con­tinue to un­der­pin the lo­cal mar­ket.

How­ever, good sense ap­pears to have pre­vailed in the case of grade Ii-listed The Old rec­tory at Claver­ton, a his­toric mano­rial set­tle­ment on the south­ern side of bath. lo­cated in un­du­lat­ing coun­try­side be­tween Claver­ton Manor and War­leigh Manor, the val­ley was the sub­ject of land­scap­ing and grand plan­ning dur­ing the 17th and 18th cen­turies, a legacy still ev­i­dent to­day.

First launched on the mar­ket in May at a guide price of £2.95 mil­lion, the sub­stan­tial, late-17th-cen­tury for­mer rec­tory, re­built and ex­tended in 1852, is now on through Knight Frank (01225 325999) and Sav­ills (01225 474500), at a guide price of £2.5 mil­lion.

In 1750, the writer, poet and angli­can min­is­ter richard graves—best known in schol­arly cir­cles for his novel The Spir­i­tual Quixote, a satire of John Wesley and Method­ism—was in­stalled as rec­tor of Claver­ton and, from then un­til his death in 1804, he rarely left the liv­ing for long. In those days, the rec­tory, which stood on the same site as the present one, was, ac­cord­ing to graves’s bi­og­ra­pher Fran­cis Kil­vert, ‘of a far hum­bler char­ac­ter, a long low build­ing, be­neath the level of the road,

pos­sess­ing nev­er­the­less an air of com­fort and re­spectabil­ity’.

In con­trast, to­day’s hand­some for­mer rec­tory com­prises three main parts: the orig­i­nal 17th-cen­tury house to the south, the im­pos­ing 19th-cen­tury part, with its dis­tinc­tive gables, in the cen­tre and the at­tached two-bed­room Rec­tory Cot­tage to the north.

The re­cently re­fur­bished main house pro­vides more than 6,800sq ft of liv­ing space on three floors, in­clud­ing a draw­ing room, din­ing room and kitchen, all with fine views over the gar­den to the Lim­p­ley Stoke val­ley. The first floor houses a lux­u­ri­ous mas­ter suite, a study, four fur­ther bed­rooms and a fam­ily bath­room, with two fur­ther bed­rooms on the floor above.

Out­side, a bank of ma­ture wood­land en­sures the pri­vacy and seclu­sion of the lovely rear gar­den, which has been thought­fully laid out and beau­ti­fully main­tained.

Four miles north-east of Bath, within the Cotswolds AONB, Knight Frank (01225 325999) quote a guide price of £2.325m for his­toric, Grade Ii*-listed St Cather­ine’s End House, which stands in a glo­ri­ously un­spoilt and peace­ful set­ting over­look­ing pic­turesque St Cather­ine’s Val­ley.

Another im­pos­ing 17th-cen­tury build­ing with steep gables and mul­lioned win­dows, St Cather­ine’s End House is won­der­fully pri­vate, ap­proached from a coun­try lane through high wooden gates that open onto a spa­cious gravel drive and ex­ten­sive park­ing. Ter­raced lawns sweep away to the east, where ma­ture hedgerows pro­tect the bound­ary with­out im­ping­ing on the splen­did panoramic views across the val­ley.

In­side, the house boasts an ar­ray of fine, orig­i­nal ar­chi­tec­tural de­tail, in­clud­ing beamed ceil­ings, stone fire­places and a 17th-cen­tury stair­case. The main house cur­rently of­fers 3,831sq ft of ac­com­mo­da­tion, in­clud­ing a draw­ing room, li­brary, fam­ily room, kitchen/ break­fast room and four bed­room suites. The Gar­den House—the con­verted for­mer

coach house—of­fers a fur­ther 1,517sq ft of liv­ing space, in­clud­ing a kitchen/liv­ing room and two bed­room suites.

An im­por­tant ad­di­tional sell­ing point is the re­cent plan­ning con­sent ob­tained by the own­ers to sig­nif­i­cantly ex­tend the house by link­ing it on one side with the sep­a­rate home of­fice to cre­ate a large kitchen/din­ing room and adding a new draw­ing room and log­gia on the op­po­site side. The pro­posed al­ter­ations, if im­ple­mented in their en­tirety, would in­crease the area of the main house to a to­tal of 5,413sq ft and sub­stan­tially en­hance its over­all ap­peal.

At a guide price of £1.95m through Knight Frank, Grade Ii-listed The Old Vicarage in the charm­ing vil­lage of Northend, three miles from Bath, is for sale for the first time in more than 250 years, hav­ing been in Church own­er­ship be­fore be­ing bought by its present own­ers.

Dur­ing their ten­ure, they’ve com­pletely ren­o­vated the house, trans­form­ing the in­te­rior into a stylish, con­tem­po­rary fam­ily home with all ‘mod cons’, in­clud­ing a draw­ing room, din­ing room, me­dia/sit­ting room, games room, a state-of-the-art Mowlem & Co kitchen, six bed­rooms and four bath­rooms—some 5,100sq ft in all.

The Old Rec­tory at Claver­ton is sur­rounded by ma­ture wood­land and comes with seven bed­rooms and a cot­tage. £2.5m

Above: Grade Ii*-listed St Cather­ine’s End House, Somerset, is in a se­cluded spot over­look­ing St Cather­ine’s Val­ley. £2.325m

The re­cently re­fur­bished Old Rec­tory pro­vides more than 6,800sq ft of liv­ing space

St Cather­ine’s End House (above and be­low) boasts hand­some land­scaped gar­dens, as well as orig­i­nal ar­chi­tec­tural de­tails

Grade Ii-listed The Old Vicarage in Northend ex­udes rus­tic charm, but is a con­tem­po­rary fam­ily home with all the ‘mod cons’. £1.95m

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