A fine old rectory in a country village is the embodiment of the English rural idyll, and the large and elegant house lived in by the local vicar is the backdrop to many popular novels.
Often, these grand houses were built for the younger sons of landowners; the first son inherited the estate, the second went into the army, and the third into the church. As such, they needed a large dwelling of fine architecture befit their status and to house many children and servants. But in the 20th century, as servants became more expensive and harder to find, families got smaller. Younger sons went into the City instead of the army or church, the rectories began to be sold off by the local parishes. Today, they’re much sought-after as private homes.
The aptly named Old Rectory, in Goldaming, Surrey, is a beautiful Grade II listed house set amid spectacular gardens, paddocks and woodland. The main house, which dates to the 16th century, with 18th and 20th century additions, is a generous 6,405 square feet; ancillary buildings, including a coach house and a garage, add about another 5,500 square feet. Set on 20 acres with a total of ten bedrooms and a dozen bathrooms, the Old Rectory is available for US$11 million via Nigel Mitchell, Bruce Tolmie-Thomson, and Rose Stevens at Knight Frank.
Inside, the main house has been thoughtfully designed for the principal rooms to enjoy views over the property’s lovely garden setting. There are five reception rooms on the ground floor (drawing room, dining room, family room, garden room, and library), with the kitchen in the center. The wine storage space carved out of an old well is an especially cool feature, though it will not delight a claustrophobic.
The bedroom situation is excellent for a large family, with six ensuite guest bedrooms plus a master suite with dressing room. Still too cramped? Accessed via a glass-covered walkway, the coach house offers another three bedrooms, each with a private bath, plus a sitting room. In addition to the bedroom accommodations, the coach house serves as a leisure complex complete with a snooker room and an indoor pool with spa. And, like so many indoor pools in Britain seem to, this one sports a mural of some generic Mediterranean landscape.
The gardens and grounds are lovely, with many interesting features including a kitchen garden and a tennis court, as well as expansive lawns that stretch toward the paddocks and woodlands. Other buildings on the property include a double garage, a barn, and a stabling block. There’s even a bothy. A what, you ask? Bothy is a Scottish word for a rural stone shelter formerly used for people working the land, possibly as a shepherd. This one has been updated to use as an art studio, complete with sink and bathroom. Why just have a studio when you can have a bothy?