See inside the most incredible Georgian home by the sea
PUBLISHED: 10:45 24 August 2018 | UPDATED: 10:45 24 August 2018
Houses just don’t come on the market often like this - a Grade II star listed Georgian house on the coast in grounds of one acre. Property editor Caroline Culot had the great privilege of visiting Marsh House, Wells-next-the-Sea, for sale for a guide price of £1.4 million.
You rarely get a Georgian house for sale by the coast and this one, in the centre of Wells-next-the-Sea, on Marsh Lane, is one of the most intriguing properties I have seen for a long time. Situated in the centre of town, it is set back, behind gates, in an acre of seclusion snuggling behind one of those brick and flint ‘crinkle crankle’ walls with two courtyards and a small paddock.
I fell in love with this house; I just love how it looks, majestic in mellow red brick with the distinctive front pediment boasting a round window, which I will come to later. The house, which dates to the 1740s, has been in the same family since 1949 after being sold at auction by Andrews & Dewing for its previous owner, a Wing Commander George Turner Cain. Property details preserved from that purchase state that a ‘freehold Georgian residence’ was for sale ‘within a short distance of the railway station, churches (CE and RC), the post office and the sea.’
The particulars of the sale of this house in one lot on July 6, 1949 describe it as ‘attractive and secluded’ with ‘a large conservatory (with vines), a small kitchen and flower garden, lawns, a tennis court and two garages.’ Further details go on to describe the luxury that ‘two of the bedrooms have fitted wash basins and one bedroom has an airing cupboard.’
The house has been in the same family since this sale and is just remarkable. It needs updating although part of its charm is that it is so well preserved, much loved but largely unmodernised. In my opinion, you can’t beat Georgian houses for their symmetry and proportions - you enter the front door in the centre of the house into a large reception hall with a fireplace and a gorgeous set of sash windows with deep sills, actually large enough to be window seats. This house is laid out to a text book Georgian configuration so you have the two principal reception rooms, a sitting room and drawing room either side of the hall, both with fireplaces, and a formal dining room at the rear.
Being Grade II star listed, meaning of more than special architectural interest, there is panelling, fireplaces from a number of periods, decorative plasterwork and a fine oak, cantilevered staircase. Typically, this house would have had an army of servants in its day so there is a back winding staircase where you can almost still hear the pitter patter of maids’ feet going up and down all day long, and the kitchen and ancillary rooms are situated at the rear with much less decoration and much simpler fireplaces. This is a house which really typifies how a wealthy family would have once lived and it is almost as if time has stood still - but it feels as if this house has really seen some happy times.
The staircase takes you to a half landing with the stairs going left and right where there is a lovely arched window bringing light into the area. Off the landing are four/five large bedrooms, all with fireplaces and large sash windows. There really is a master bedroom as the man of the house slept in one bedroom and the lady, next door, in another. The bedroom above the dining room with a smaller fireplace was apparently the master’s study. There are vanity basins but of course no modern en suites except one which has been added to a bedroom across from the bathroom which has a large enamel bath with fantastic copper taps. This bedroom possibly had the servant’s stairs leading to it and with more basic windows and a fireplace, could have perhaps been the maids’ living room?
Just outside is the narrowest of wardrobes, with some simple hooks - for the matron’s Sunday best to hang, perhaps?
The servants would have slept on the top floor, which boasts six more rooms and could easily be a fantastic teenager’s lair. And, of course, at the end, you have that distinctive circular window that you see from the front of the house.
Outside there is an old Anderson shelter as well as a coach house, stables and a small paddock.
This is simply the most incredible house I have seen for a long time. It gives a real insight into life in the 18th and 19th century, and how families lived then but it has a future and can provide a new 21st century family with a home too.
Marsh House, Wells-next-the-Sea is for sale with Bedfords on 01328 730500.