Tuesday, 12 December 2017

‘We’ve been custodians of a piece of history’

THATCHED cottages are the epitome of the English countryside — and when Janice Roberts saw Priory Cottage she knew she

THATCHED cottages are the epitome of the English countryside — and when Janice Roberts saw Priory Cottage she knew she had found the perfect home.

The property is a beautifully presented 17th century Grade II-listed thatched cottage in Berrick Salome, set in cottage gardens approaching an acre and with far-reaching views to the rear over open countryside.

As the Roberts had been house-hunting for a while, the couple were aware that thatched cottages came with their own quirky features — many have low ceilings and inter-connecting rooms. What attracted them to Priory Cottage was the fact that it had all the character features they were looking for but none of the drawbacks.

Mrs Roberts said: “Priory Cottage was appealing because it had the thatch that we were looking for yet the ceilings were fairly high and for a cottage there was a lot of natural light. But it was mainly the location and the village itself that was the deciding factor.”

They had found out the cottage was available from the next-door neighbour, and the sale went through privately, meaning Priory Cottage has not been on the open market for around 35 years.

Originally built in 1630, the farmer who lived there added an extension in 1930 and the Roberts made further additions after they moved in, during the Nineties. This included adding a hallway, dining room, utility room, landing, a bedroom with ensuite and a further family bathroom upstairs, something that had been lacking before.

The Roberts have lived in the house for 27 years, and Mrs Roberts said it would be a wrench to leave, however she added that she was also looking forward to new challenges.

“It has been a privilege to live in such a property,” she said. “As a Grade II-listed building I believe we are merely the custodians of them, to take care of them before passing them to the next person.”

A keen interior designer, Mrs Roberts created the internal décor herself, combining character features with more modern elements. Now she is moving on, she is look for a different style of living altogether. The couple are looking for a property with a modern, open-plan feel that she hopes to enhance with her own personal design touches.

Approached via a five bar gate on to an expansive gravelled parking area, the front door of the property provides access to the entrance lobby and it is here that the principal accommodation may be accessed. Despite holding many original features throughout, the kitchen/breakfast room offers a modern feel with a range of fitted cupboards and enjoys double-aspect views over the gardens. A utility room is located just off the kitchen providing direct access to the gardens.

The drawing room offers a wealth of character features including a large inglenook fireplace with brick hearth and exposed beams. There are triple-aspect views over the rear, side and front gardens and the original front door and porch provides access to the garden.

There is a large dining room located in the extension. There are two staircases that provide access to the bedrooms. One is located at the far end of the drawing room, the other is off the entrance hall. The four double bedrooms continue the beamed theme found throughout the cottage and all benefit from high ceilings. A family bathroom serves three of the bedrooms and one features an ensuite shower room.

The gardens are a particular feature of Priory Cottage which have been painstakingly created by the current owner, with the help of a trained horticulturalist and are stocked with wonderful, vibrant flowerbeds and trees. There are views over paddocks and fields. There is a bridge that crosses the small stream that passes through the garden. To the front of the property is a double timber-framed open garage and greenhouse.

Mrs Roberts said that there is a real community feel to the area with an annual cricket match between neighbouring villages creating a real element of competition.

Many of the beautiful gardens in the village are open to the public every other year and the church provides a real focal point.

She said: “It has been a major decision to move but I am excited about the new challenges ahead of me and hope the new owners will feel the same sense of belonging that we felt living here.”

The property is available through Hamptons International at a guide price of £1.35m. For more details, call (01491) 572215.

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