Church Street, Bicester, Oxfordshire
- Period Family Home
- Four characterful bedrooms
- One with en-suite
- Three sizeable receptions
- Bright, airy kitchen with cells!
- Cloakroom & family Bathroom
- Bespoke home working space
- Parking through gated arch
NO CHAIN. VIRTUAL TOUR AVAILABLE
Be part of something. Custodianship of historic buildings is a privilege, but many are not easy to live with. This one is an exception, with its large rooms and premium location.
Bicester is perhaps one of the fastest growing and most popular towns in the South of England. The burgeoning community has seen an increase in every amenity at great speed in recent years and hence today this is a thriving town with huge opportunity. There are good local schools, a ten screen cinema, restaurants, parks, not to mention the improved and extended Bicester Village (a remarkably successful factory outlet for luxury goods, visited from worldwide). Commuting is exceptional to all points, with a direct rail link to Oxford (and thereafter Paddington), a fast train into London Marylebone (40 mins peak), plus the nearby M40 and A34. There is even a regular bus service to both Oxford and Cambridge just a few steps away.
The Old Court House is one of a very few ex-municipal buildings remaining in central Bicester that continue to exhibit their true origins within a residential space. The whole house is utterly intriguing, with evidence of its service as both Court House and Police Station at various points from its construction in 1857 through to the latter half of the 20th century. From cell doors to huge door locks, arc-framed roof trusses to tall, high-set front windows, a deep sense of the history permeates throughout - as well as a sense of fun. This makes for an interesting and rather special environment. And within the more modern period, the conversion to a house has been done with care, even the smaller touches such a heritage-style radiators are what we would hope to find. The house majors on huge downstairs space with large living areas that are rare to find. Sitting opposite the church and just a few moments' walk from the market square, from this front door every amenity is accessed, on foot, within minutes.
Coming in through the original double doors with their huge iron bolts and locks, the impact of the dining room is quite something. Stairs lead up to a galleried landing overhead and on the left the fireplace is an original Victorian item. The room is bright throughout as the height of the ceiling allows for large glazing at the front that brings in excellent light. And for practicality there are huge cupboards built in on the left wall. Turning right you come to the first of the main living spaces, The windows to the front are set high into the wall, a feature found in school or court buildings of this type and era designed to bring in the light without those outside or inside being able to see each other! Being high mounted, the light is excellent, and it reveals a room that is almost 20 ft long and a similar width, a wonderful living area that we are also told has excellent acoustics. To the rear the detailing of vertical bars either side of the chimney stack, to key in with the history, is both clever and fun as a method of separating the two while maximising the light flow once again. Up four steps brings you into a reception that is full height with those same large, tall windows facing out to garden, to which there is also a door here. Look up and the original 1857 arch-frame timbers with their hand-cut dowels really imprint the history as well as being attractive. And the brick fireplace with its thick lintel, and the wood burner within, are a delight for cozy winter evenings.
Back to the hall, at the rear the opening leads into a hallway with a side door, which in reality is the entrance most will usually use as it leads to the parking and the cobbled archway back to the street. This space contains another lovely fireplace, this time in brick, and to the right is a cloak room. Our suspicion is for most this rear hall would be ideal for coat racks, key table, large dresser and the like to get them out of the other habitable spaces. Behind, the kitchen opens up to a generous length, about 23 feet. A very generous run of timber units and work surfaces complete with a double Belfast sink occupy two sides. There is space for a breakfast table to the far end, next to double doors that lead out to the garden and thereafter the back gate to the parking. And intriguingly to the sides the iron bar frame cell doors still remain, enclosing a pair of cells that now provide great storage as well as housing washing machine, boiler etc! One could be the ideal wet dog lobby too as it contains another door out to the entrance and parking. And even the high-mounted windows remain, complete with bars across...
Upstairs is just as characterful. At the top of the stairs you'll find a landing that is vast, which benefits from a stylish and practical home working space thoughtfully designed and fitted by Neville Johnson. And as with so much in this house, the little extra details such as the octagonal balustrades and the bridging two chimney collectors raise a smile. Take a left down the hall and the first room is a good sized double bedroom that has been used as a child's room initially then became a home office. Next door, the modern bathroom with both roll top bath and separate shower is in excellent order. The hallway ends at the main bedroom. Ahead the door to a pretty Juliette balcony is flanked by window panels, bringing in good light. It's a large and also well proportioned room, and next to it the en-suite is part white tiled with a thermostatic shower. Head back down the hall, take another left into another hallway, look right. The cupboard at the end is deep, providing great storage. But your eyes are diverted well before then by the same majestic arch-frame roof timber you saw downstairs. This hallway is also practical as it provides space that could be a place for kids' computer desks/ electronics outside their rooms, or somewhere for bookshelves/ chests etc. And ahead of you the two remaining bedrooms are both good sizes and practical with yet more wardrobes/ storage, and one in particular exhibits the other end of the arch-frame in its high ceiling.
Outside, to the front the house opens onto Church Street, which is literally sixty seconds' walk from the town centre. To the left, the original court house yard was always enclosed by secure full-height solid wood gates, and these are retained through to today. Behind them a charming cobbled entrance runs between this and the Old Police House to a large gravelled parking area at the rear, a valuable rarity in the centre of the town, with a store shed to the side. The house owns two garden areas. One just behind the kitchen is enclosed with a picket fence, behind which is an area of lawn with a central flower bed. Separated from it by a stone wall is the other part, accessed from the house or the parking, enclosed with a fence and gate. This is part paved for dining and relaxing, and part lawned with some shrubs and flowers to the borders along with a wisteria climbing the stone wall.
We were not expecting to find this house quite so peaceful, interesting or such fun. But it is. And to find a property with such attributes that is also in such an absurdly convenient location really is unique!!
Directions - 12 miles Oxford, 24 miles MK
2 mainline stations a short walk
Every possible amenity nearby
Great local school
Fibreoptic or cable broadband
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Church Street, Bicester, Oxfordshire
NEAREST STATIONSDistances are straight line measurements from the centre of the postcode
- Bicester Town Station0.3 miles
- Bicester North Station0.5 miles
- Islip Station6.1 miles
About the agent
Cridland and Co are a totally independent, family-run estate agency specialising in selling and letting property across North Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds. We are well known for handling properties of architectural or special interest, however our expertise covers a wide spectrum of prices and types. To us the average estate agent's standards might be good enough to sell washing machines but they are not good enough to sell houses.
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