All the love without the labour—these beautifully restored houses are good to go.
Devon, £2.995 million
Pevsner called south-facing, Grade II*-listed Ranscombe Manor ‘a 17th-century house of high quality’. It’s in great condition, with seven bedrooms (five in the main house, two in a cottage and one in a converted dovecote), a beautifully fitted kitchen with an Aga and a garden room. Its 10 acres include a pond, lawns, a formal parterre, a walled kitchen garden and orchard and a further 22 acres available as separate lots have a courtyard of outbuildings with planning permission for conversion.
Marchand Petit (01548 857 588) and Savills (01392 455 700)
Northamptonshire, £1.1 million
It was recently discovered that this eight-bedroom Grade II-listed house is the work of Lady Elizabeth Wilbraham, who is said to be the first female architect and a rumoured teacher to Sir Christopher Wren. Milton Malsor Manor is elegantly Queen Anne, but with period features retained from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. It also has a summer house and three wine cellars.
Jackson Stops & Staff (01604 632 991)
Grade II-listed Hill Farm House, built in the village of Holywell in 1623, is a safer purchase than most—there are shoes dating from 1750 sealed up in the roof ‘to ward off evil spirits’, found during recent renovations and left in situ. It has five bedrooms, exposed beams, inglenook fireplaces and a self-contained annexe, plus a cottage garden and small orchard.
Cheffins (01223 214 214)
Northumberland, £1.35 million
Set in five acres of grounds, with an orchard and walled garden, this handsome seven-bedroom Georgian dower house was previously owned by the Bowes-Lyon family and is now being sold by a renowned local interior designer, who has sympathetically aligned modern fixtures with period features. Beltingham House also has a summer house, adjoining cottage, paddocks and woodland.
Finest Properties (01434 622 234)
Grade I-listed, 14th-century Fairfield House in Eastry, with its dragon beams and ancient doorways, has survived remarkably well. There are four bedrooms, a butlery, a panelled dining room, a useful cellar accessed from the pantry and a delightful ‘higgledy-piggledy look, with the half-timbered outer bays jetted and with hipped roofs.
Strutt & Parker (01227 473 707)
Cornwall, £1.35 million
Just 650 yards from the sea, this former watermill was bought as a ruin from the Port Eliot estate and has been converted into a five-bedroom property using traditional techniques and natural materials. Cobland Mill includes a 1½-acre boating and fishing lake and a newly built winery on its 10 acres, with the opportunity to revive a successful commercial vineyard.
Marchand Petit (01752 829 000)