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7 bedroom manor house for sale
- LOCATED IN A MEDIEVAL TOWN
- MOATED GARDENS
- SEVEN BEDROOMS
- SIX RECEPTION ROOMS
- STUNNING GRADE I LISTED MANOR HOUSE
- TWO ACRES (STMS)
- DETACHED BARN
- ACCOMMODATION EXTENDS TO APPROXIMATELY 5298 SQ FT
Dining in the magnificent hall with logs blazing in the fireplace, Geraldine Craig relishes the palpable sense of history in her exquisite seven-bedroom manor house, which has its own tower. A 14th century, timber framed aisled hall, with cross wings and carved gargoyles, St Clere's Hall is Grade I listed.
This is a wonderful historic home of restrained elegance. It is full of historic and architectural interest but intrinsically it is a home, she said.
The Craigs moved into St Clere's Hall 30 years ago, and for some of that time three generations of the family lived here.
It is a medieval manor house built around 1340 to 1360. A little bit was added in the 15th or 16th century but most of it is original. It's what they call a typical 'H' shaped Essex house, Geraldine explained.
She added: What we call the library was added in about 1500.
And this exceptional house, which is the perfect backdrop for their art collection, retains its period splendour.
It is full of history, full of character. The building is very beautiful. We just love all the architectural features. We are just mad about old properties and we fell in love with it.
At the heart of the house is the great hall. There is the most wonderful, huge fireplace in the big hall and massive timbers. On one, there is a two-faced gargoyle carved in the wood which was meant to ward off evil spirits, she said. Kids love it.
There are also magic circles carved in the same beam to protect the house.
She added: The hall is gorgeous and it's huge. It's very tall and very light. The whole house is very light for a timber framed building of the 14th century.
This spacious, comfortable home also has a drawing room and further sitting room, plus Geraldine's favourite - the morning room.
The morning room is a nice quiet room overlooking the garden and that's where I like to read, she added. There are so many rooms you can always find peace and quiet.
DECK THE HALL
The sociable Craigs love to welcome guests into their home. It is a very warm, happy home, Geraldine observed. We've always loved having masses of people here and had loads of parties and gatherings. All our kids' friends loved coming here and running around it.
It was also the perfect venue for a wedding reception party for their son and his bride.
Among my happiest memories are of Christmas here with our huge 15ft high tree in the magnificent hall and the inglenook fireplace piled up with logs and the fire going.
The house is full of people at Christmas, with all the family here, round the big table in the hall, she continued.
The kitchen is in the east wing. It's a lovely kitchen overlooking the garden with a big four-oven Aga and a table. It is a lovely, cosy family kitchen.
REACHING NEW HEIGHTS
The house also boasts a tower, believed to have been added in the early 19th century. It has been suggested that this tower might have been some sort of lookout, but Geraldine admits they don't know why it was built.
Nobody really knows quite what that is. But you get the most marvellous views of the countryside and also the coast, she said. There used to be a lot of smuggling round here, and there's been a lot of conjecture about the tower. I just think it was somebody's little folly, little whimsy.
And there are also fine views from the bedrooms across the gardens and surrounding countryside.
FIT FOR A QUEEN
Two staircases, both believed to date to the Jacobean period, lead upstairs.
In the staircase to the bedrooms in the east wing is an Elizabethan dog gate.
It would have stopped the hounds disturbing the lord of the manor upstairs, she explained.
It was the luxurious spaciousness of the master bedroom, with its dressing room leading into the en-suite bathroom that convinced Geraldine to make St Clere's Hall the Craig's family home.
Really it is two rooms opened up and it is huge, she said. With that glorious hall and our large bedroom I felt like a queen!
Tranquil St. Clere's Hall is approached by an attractive sweeping carriage driveway and your first glimpse of the stunning façade and beautiful moated landscaped gardens that surround it immediately raises expectations as to what lies inside. Entering via the heavy oak door with carved spandrels you will be impressed by the great hall which is currently used as a grand dining room. This expanse of an extremely rare case of a surviving aisled hall with a commanding pair of sturdy octagonal piers. The magnificent full height Tudor fireplace with inset wood burner has a moulded bressumer and is the showpiece of this space, complemented by varnished oak parquet flooring. An abundance of natural light floods the room from the dual aspect and the large mullion window which looks out to the rear garden. To your left is the delightful drawing room, which boasts an elegant Queen Anne bow window overlooking the moated front garden, there are two heavy central ceiling beams and a striking Georgian marble fireplace and corner display cabinet. Adjacent is the study, an ideal place for anyone wishing to work from home with great views to the side with the moated garden and farmland beyond, there is also a lift leading to the master bedroom.
For anyone wishing to relax, whether by having breakfast or reading a book, the morning room is excellent with great views over the rear garden via the French windows.
There is a Multiyork open fire set in black slate with pine surround creating a warm and cosy ambience
and a handy built in drinks cupboard. Moving on, the living room is much enjoyed by the current owners due to its heavily beamed ceiling, at one end of the room there are matching arched bookshelves with the dual aspect allowing plenty of light into the room. The kitchen/breakfast room is loated t the rear of the great hall and enjoys views out towards the rear garden. This traditional style kitchen is fitted with medium oak cabinets, an array of built in appliances and there is an impressive four-oven Aga which is recessed into the superb red brick chimney breast. A beamed archway leads to further built in storage cupboards and a stud wall, subject to the relevant planning permission, could be used to extend through to the utility/laundry room. Completing this floor, there is a sitting room, which has been previously used as an annexe sitting room and offers a similar view to that of the drawing room and has a walk in wine cellar and exposed ceiling beams. Before entering the laundry room there is an inner and outer lobby providing access to the rear garden, this laundry room was previously used as a kitchenette and as previously mentioned could be an extension to the current kitchen/breakfast room.
FIRST FLOOR ACCOMMODATION
The first floor is divided into two wings, the east wing is approached from the great hall via a Jacobean staircase with an original Elizabethan dog gate. Before reaching the split level landing you will find a newly fitted family bathroom. The master bedroom is located to the front of the property, directly above the drawing room and enjoys glorious views over the moated front garden and farmland beyond; there is a period fireplace, a fine original oak linen fold door and an array of exposed timbers. A door leads through to the dressing room where you will also find the lift taking you down to the study and the en-suite. There are three further bedrooms, two of which are linked and would make a wonderful dressing room, games room or a suite for a teenager wanting their own space. The remaining bedroom has a wealth of timbers and a central fireplace.
From this wing access can also be gained to the weather boarded viewing turret, a lovely room with far reaching views across St. Osyth, a perfect retreat for anyone wishing to relax and take in the view. The west wing is accessed from the great hall and three further inviting bedrooms await you, all with exposed beams, stud work and vaulted ceilings. This is only evident in the front bedroom, as the other two have suspended ceilings. There is also a large walk in airing cupboard with an adjacent built in cupboard, butler sink and a family bathroom.
Setting the scene
The house is located at the end of a private lane and is approached via a sweeping gravelled carriage driveway and is surrounded by beautifully moated gardens extending to approximately two acres, with well tendered herbaceous borders and a variety of ornamental flowers, shrubs and mature trees.
In front of the house is a magnificent maple. It is quite dramatic and large and gorgeous, Geraldine said.
There are a number of herbaceous borders around the garden and two big ones by the long lawn, Bill continued. There's a little arch over one of the paths with climbing roses over it.
The kitchen goes straight out into the garden and there is terrace with umbrellas and chairs that's great in the summer for barbecues, Geraldine went on. The morning room and library also open onto the garden.
There is a large weather boarded, Grade II Listed barn including garaging and a workshop with two store rooms. Subject to necessary planning permission it could be converted to an annexe. In addition there is a large greenhouse, tool shed, wood stores and separate boiler house.
Within easy reach
Colchester, Clacton, Great Bentley and Thorpe Le Soken are all within a short drive. Colchester has a great selection of shops and supermarkets together with schools, a mainline station and an extensive variety of leisure facilities.
Colchester also has a zoo, castle, museums and theatre.
It's 50 minutes to London on the train from Colchester if you catch the fast Norwich train, she added. Great Bentley train station is literally about 10 minutes away. Trains from Great Bentley to Colchester take around 20 minutes. The A12 is reached from the A133 and A120 and it takes about an hour to drive to London Stansted Airport.
From Colchester take the A133 towards Clacton, turning right signposted University of Essex. Take the first turning left onto the B1027 and proceed along passing through Alresford and Thorrington. Take the turning signposted St. Osyth's and at the centre of the village continue straight over at the crossroad onto Spring Road. After about a quarter of a mile turn right into St. Clere's Hall Lane which is a private road. St. Clere's Hall can be found on the left hand side at the end of the lane.
For those with satellite navigation the postcode of the property is CO16 8RX.
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