Stately Apartments

For most mortals, the prospect of living in a stately country residence with beautifully proportioned reception rooms and amply aced parkland is but a fleeting fantasy… a ‘dream on’ scenario synonymous with prohibitive price tags and onerous running costs. But think ‘conversions’ ­by way of a wing or an apartment within a large country house — and a slice of the good life could be yours.

`The demand for such properties has risen dramatically over the past 10 to 15 years; then, people wanted to live in a big house at the end of a mile long drive or in New York holiday apartments. Now they want to have neighbours close by,’ comments Mark Taylor of Cluttons Daniel Smith, who adds that because many such apartments are leasehold, there is usually a management company on hand to take care of the grounds and common parts.

Tower House

`Families, couples and single people like the feeling of living in a small, well-managed community and the sense of security it affords; but the concept also appeals to older couples whose offspring have flown the family seat and who do not want to trade down to anything too small or modern,’ says Martin Lamb of Knight Frank’s Exeter office, who is handling the sale of Grade II* listed Maristow, near Plymouth, Devon. Owned by the same family from 1770 until 1995, when it was sold to a company under the direction of ‘conversion king’ Kit Martin, it now provides 12 individual properties with shared use of some 42 acres of parkland.

Lantern House Twin Bedroom

The four-bedroom Tower House and two-bedroom Lantern House are now for sale at £175,000 and £195,000 respectively. These are less expensive than London bed and breakfast  or b&b Paris. Six miles from Kingsbridge, South Devon and less than a mile from the sea, a spacious three-bedroom ground-floor apartment in a handsome Regency manor house is recommended by Marchand Petit (01548 857588); it is also on the market for £195,000, as is an elegant two-bedroom ground-floor flat in the west wing of Palladian Kirtlington Park, Oxfordshire, which is being marketed by FPD Savills (01865 269000). Nearby at Bliss Mill, Chipping Norton, within the imaginative early 1990s conversion of this historic tweed mill’s Warping House, a two-bedroom property is now for sale at £189,950, benefitting from a large leisure centre with an indoor pool, spa bath, snooker room, squash court and two tennis courts. Simon Merton of Strutt & Parker (01608 650502) says this former show house would make an ideal `lock up and go’ pied a terre or weekend retreat.

Sherborne Guest House


Seventeen miles from Cheltenham, Sherborne House was converted in 1982 to create 30 apartments that enjoy access to some 12 acres of grounds, complete with a hard tennis court, indoor swimming pool, and heated orangery. Overlooking the pretty rose garden, a ground-floor flat with two bedrooms and bathrooms is now on the market for £295,000 through Lane Fox, who, together with Hamptons International, is also instructed on the Library Suite; one of the principal two/three-bedroom apartments in this imposing Grade II* Cotswold Manor House, it incorporates the magnificent library (now a drawing room) which features carved oak shelves and an ornamental ceiling by Anthony Salvin, while the dining room’s barrel-vaulted stone ceiling is believed to date back to the 1 1 th century when it was a mead cellar of the original monastic grange. Offers in the region of £435,000 are invited.


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