Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Film and fame: properties to leave you starry-eyed

TO celebrate her Film and Fame issue, Standard Property found a selection of homes that could be the

TO celebrate her Film and Fame issue, Standard Property found a selection of homes that could be the perfect setting for some of our most-loved films. Ready? Action!


A SWEEPING English drama based on Ian McEwan’s 2001 novel Atonement was filmed at Stokesay Court in Shropshire - a dead ringer for our first property.

Childe Court, in Streatley, is tucked away close to the Thames in one of the oldest parts of the village and is looking for a new Keira Knightley, pictured right, and James McAvoy to walk through its solid wooden electric gates.

Just like Stokesay, Childe Court is a listed property and is overflowing with character features from the late 1800s, thanks to a remodelling in 1898 by renowned architect of the time William Ravenscroft.

However, the house has something of a split personality, having once been a set of rustic cottages (the original structure was built in the 16th century). As the years rolled by it grew much larger and grander, at one stage even becoming a gentleman’s club.

Today’s incarnation is an impressive and beautifully presented manor, currently home to Alan Mumby, who has lived there for the past 15 years, raising his son Oliver with late wife Caryl.

“When we saw Childe Court, we were struck by how interesting a house it is, with bits and all sorts of shapes from various additions,” said Alan. “For instance, the dining room feels like a library and is interestingly ‘un-square’.”

When the family moved in the house had been split into two properties.

“We put it back together, as it was supposed to be,” said Alan. “It was a fairly major project, though, which involved tying together the different floor levels. Reconstruction was more extensive than we had anticipated, but then that has all added to the appeal. It’s fascinating to live here. The new owner will get a charted history from me!”

To this day, some parts of the house feel cottagey, while others are far more elegant. Expect to find parquet flooring and a William Morris ceiling frieze in the breakfast room rubbing shoulders with sloping ceilings, rustic exposed beams and delicious nooks and crannies in the hall.

“I’ve always liked that â?? it’s not too same-y,” added Alan.

Over three floors, this idyllic retreat in central Streatley has eight bedrooms (the master having a dressing room as well as an ensuite), two family bathrooms, a drawing, dining, sitting and breakfast room, a conservatory, cellar, a large country-style kitchen and half an acre of part-walled gardens.

“But it’s just crying out for a family,” said Alan, who said he is able to sleep in a different bedroom every day of the week. “It’s far too big for one person. There’s even a garden gym block which used to be a studio where Caryl would be inspired for her floral design business.”

Indeed, it is Caryl we have to thank for the decor of the house, including Osbourne and Little wallpapers, Sanderson paints and Malabar materials.

“She was instrumental in giving the house its look,” said Alan.

Her touches perfectly showcase the house’s mellow bricks, leaded glass windows and ornate wooden staircase.

“It’s classic English country-house style with a modern twist,” said Alan. “The garden was Caryl’s favourite part of the property, though.”

The gardens lie to the front of the house and are divided into separate areas thanks to the original walling and hedges, although Alan thinks the feel here is more Midsomer Murders than Atonement.

But it’s not just the house and gardens which makes Childe Court so special.

“Streatley is a dream location,” said Alan. “You don’t have to drive anywhere for anything you might need. There are shops just over the bridge in Goring [the Thames separates the two villages], and if you love the water, it’s a great place to mess about in boats.”

The village also has some great places to eat, including The Riverside Restaurant and Boat House Deli and Café, while the Pierreponts Café is also just over the river.

Local amenities include a post office, library, primary schools and a mainline train link to London Paddington from Goring.

So who will be the next lord and lady of Childe Court?

“Perhaps those looking for something different,” said Alan. “Childe is a fabulous house in a fabulous location. Living here, life will never be bland.”

Childe Court is for sale with Jackson-Stops at a guide price of £1,850,000. For information call the Goring office on (01491) 871111.

THE PERFECT PLACE FOR... an Agatha Christie mystery

IN the Christie story Dead Man’s Folly, guests are invited to a murder mystery weekend in a country manor. When a real murder occurs, those remaining are faced with the prospect of the murderer still being at large. Who will be next?

You’ll have to read the book or see the film to find out. As the owner of Baileys, a beautiful Grade II-listed property in Waltham St Lawrence, with a separate guest house and staff annexe, you shouldn’t have this problem!

Set in 2.4 acres of glorious gardens and grounds, with heated swimming pool and tennis court, Baileys is a wonderful place for weekend entertaining, whether it be mystery-solving friends, family or business guests.

The current owner says he uses the oldest part of the property for himself. This dates back to the 16th century and with its dining hall, drawing room with inglenook fireplace, and Aga kitchen with breakfast room opening on to the terrace, it is the heart of this thrilling home.

Taking afternoon tea in the drawing room, Miss Marple would be able to keep her watchful eye on everything thanks to the bay windows â?? whether it be those playing tennis or grandchildren playing ‘shops’ in the Wendy house.

Upstairs, you could also keep your eyes peeled as you take in the lovely views from the master bedroom suite - right across neighbouring fields and the wildlife pond with its water lilies and native iris, up to the wildflower meadow.

The lovely guest house includes a spacious home office/library, utility room and wine store as well as a large open-plan limestone-floored living room/dining room where eight can be easily seated around a table. The bespoke kitchen also has a breakfast bar.

With its galleried landing, three double bedrooms and three bathrooms, this is just the place for your guests to retreat to when gunshots are heard - or was that fireworks? (Peril at End House.)

The gardens are well established and the owner says they peak in early summer. Hercule Poirot might well have decided to give the Chelsea Flower Show a miss had he seen all Baileys has to offer. Rose-lovers will be ooh-ing and ahh-ing while they partake of pre-dinner drinks on the pool terrace which overlooks the tennis court. (Did we mention a tennis racquet was the weapon of choice in Towards Zero?)

Those looking for a country lifestyle in a charming village, with all the amenities the surrounding area can offer, will find Baileys a good choice as their new home, as would a retired couple who love gardening and have children or /grandchildren who visit regularly. The owner says the guest house can easily be shut down when not in use.

Standard Property can also see Baileys in the hands of an extended family pooling their resources. The staff annexe could be rented out during Ascot and Henley Regatta for extra income.

But whoever is lucky enough to stay at Baileys, everyone will appreciate the convenience of having Heathrow Airport just 25 minutes away and central London under an hour, both via the M4 (junction 8/9). With Crossrail coming to Twyford (a 10-minute drive) in 2017, this is a prime location for commuters.

Surprisingly, considering its location, Waltham St Lawrence doesn’t seem to suffer from noise pollution. In fact, the owner says most traffic noise comes from horses trotting past the garden wall!

Still hunting for clues? No need. If you are looking for an idyllic country retreat to write the next chapter of your life, it’s a matter of case solved.

For sale with Hamptons International at a guide price of £2,750,000. For information please call (01491) 350059.

More News:

POLL: Have your say