Fancy buying a £1.2m rectory with a nuclear war shelter?

PUBLISHED: 08:37 24 November 2017 | UPDATED: 08:37 24 November 2017

The Old Rectory, Garvestone

The Old Rectory, Garvestone


See inside a Victorian rectory kitted out with a nuclear war shelter

The glamorous bathroom The glamorous bathroom

It’s not often you find a beautiful Victorian rectory which is fully kitted out for a nuclear war! Property editor Caroline Culot went to visit The Old Rectory, Garvestone, for sale for £1.2 million with Strutt & Parker.

It was a delight, when I now see many new builds, to visit a traditional period knapped flint and brick rectory in beautiful condition and with a rather unusual extra feature below stairs! The Old Rectory was built in 1846 and sits in 2.2 acres with a very pretty fountain at its formal front.

I found myself arriving at the tradesmen’s entrance whereas in fact the owners still use the formal front door and indeed there is a second too which would have served the reverend’s parishioners.

The hallway The hallway

An old photograph An old photograph

What I love about properties like this is it comes with history; it belonged to the Church until the 1970s and indeed must have been a wealthy parish because this house comes with the most gorgeous polished mahogany doors, several inches thick, and brass door handles, locks and keys - it just has those luxury finishes from the Victorian era that meant the person living there was of status.

Inside the nuclear shelter; this device is the ventilation system and can help you monitor the air quality and the toilet, unseen, is incorporated beneath Inside the nuclear shelter; this device is the ventilation system and can help you monitor the air quality and the toilet, unseen, is incorporated beneath

Indeed the Rev Francis Edward Jackson Valpy was given a very luxury ‘new build’ when he moved in because deeds show the house cost £2,500 in 1846 - the equivelant of about £3 million today! Valpy had come from a wealthy land owning family and he and his wife Eliza ran the rectory at one time as a school for about 10 scholars with five servants.

A summer festival at The Old Rectory A summer festival at The Old Rectory

The rectory has many original features with a drawing room, music room/library and dining room, which boast original ceiling roses and there are some impressive fireplaces. Upstairs you have a minstrel’s gallery and large landing area with five bedrooms including the master with an en suite. All are just beautifully proportioned with large windows.

And then there is the unexpected - a Swiss design, fully kitted out nuclear war shelter installed at some considerable cost by the previous owner. This reinforced concrete room is used for storage by the owners but has a 10 inch thick door and features including a device for measuring radium in the air within the shelter and a full ventilation system, wiring so you could get a radio signal, a generator for electricity, a water butt and yes, even a rather rudimentary toilet. Let’s hope it never has to be used!

Outside is a coach house with its own living room, bathroom and bedroom, ideal if you have an elderly relative and it has its own private terrace area. The main garden includes a kitchen garden and orchard with apple and pear trees.

The Old Rectory is for sale with Strutt & Parker in Norwich on 01603 617431, www.struttandparker.com

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Meet the Editor

Caroline Culot


I am the property editor in charge of delivering some exciting and informative content within Archant’s varied titles. We have 16-17 pages of stories, features and columns in the EDP Property supplement out every Friday free in your EDP so please don’t miss it.