Friday, 22 February 2019

Historic riverside estate belonged to crime writer

Historic riverside estate belonged to crime writer

WINTERBROOK, an area on the southern edge of Wallingford, is best known as the place where Dame Agatha Christie lived for more than 40 years and did most of her writing.

Christie, the crime novelist who famously created the fictional detective characters of Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, bought the now Grade II-listed Winterbrook House in 1934, with her Archaeologist husband Max Mallowan.

They added a separate building on the site of a former squash court in the grounds, which was designed by their friend and architect Louis Osman.

This building, now named The Old Court, was extended and converted to an impressive family home in 1985, and is now on the market with Savills at a guide price of £1,250,000.

The front of the house is approached along a gravel driveway with parking and turning space for several cars.

The exterior is rendered and painted cream, it has a wide sloping roof and features an unusual pair of dark wooden curved bay windows on two floors. There are two very large reception rooms on the ground floor, along with a study, a cloakroom, a utility room and storage space.

The sitting room has a fireplace and a high ceiling, with a galleried landing above it. It has a great view and two sets of double doors that open on to the garden.

The spacious dining room benefits from one of the large curved bay windows, and has wood flooring and a door to the outside.

The white tiled kitchen is fitted with white cabinets and worksurfaces, and leads to a beautifully light breakfast area with windows on three sides and doors that lead out to the garden.

The first floor is accessed from and overlooks the sitting room. The massive master bedroom suite has the upstairs curved bay window,
fitted wardrobes and an en suite shower room.

There are four additional bedrooms, some of which have small skylights in the roof letting in natural daylight.

There is also a family bathroom upstairs.

In addition to the main house, but in a separate building across the driveway, there is a double garage and a car port with space for four cars in total.

Above the garage there is a 472 sq ft space that could be used as a studio, a home office or games room.

Outside in the grounds of 1.23 acres, there is a lovely mature garden with lawned areas and flower beds, trees and shrubs.

The garden has an area of woodland and a fenced paddock, and overlooks the paddocks of Winterbrook House next door.

At the bottom of the garden, there is a 60-foot stretch of river frontage — a peaceful spot where boats drift by and trees drape over the Thames path.

There is potentially plenty of scope to extend this house, which is an ideal living space for a family, subject to the usual planning permission rules. The nearby town of Wallingford has plenty of shops and restaurants, its very own castle, the Corn Exchange Theatre and regular farmers markets.

The town has easy access to Oxford and London via the M40 motorway and Wallingford Community Hospital is nearby.

Visitors and residents enjoy themed heritage diesel and steam train rides from Cholsey and Wallingford Railway Station between Easter and September.

Wallingford Museum, in Flint House on the High Street, displays all manner of local historical artefacts and exhibitions between March and November.

The museum is well stocked with information and memorabilia about the town’s most famous resident, who was known locally as Mrs Mallowan.

An Agatha Christie Weekend is planned in Wallingford and Cholsey between Friday 6 and Sunday 8 September 2019.

Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time, having sold even more books than JK Rowling, Barbara Cartland and Harold Robbins, and beaten only in the best-selling fiction book rankings by William Shakespeare.

She and her husband are buried in the churchyard of St Mary’s Church in the nearby village of Cholsey, and their former home, Winterbrook House, is marked with a blue plaque.

If you are looking for a new home with a unique story to tell and a link to Britain’s great literary heritage, The Old Court could be the place for you.

For more information about this five-bedroom detached property at Winterbrook near Wallingford, or to arrange a viewing, please call Savills estate agency on 01491 843000.

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