Guy Jenkinson, Bidwells’ eagle-eyed residential research overlord, has been crunching his numbers and come to the conclusion that the market in his area is a lot healthier now than it was a year ago. ‘Just as we were bracing ourselves for a difficult first quarter of 2010, buyers and vendors seem determined to get on with life-especially at the upper end of the country market, which is casting a rosy glow over the rest of the sector.’

This could literally be true of the Grade II*-listed, red-brick Old Rectory (pictured) at Drinkstone, between Stowmarket and Bury St Edmunds, which has got off to a flying early start through Savills (01284 731100) at a guide price of £3 million. Built in about 1760 for the Rev Richard Moseley on the site of an earlier house, the imposing Georgian former rectory stands on high ground at the heart of this historic mid-Suffolk village, surrounded by 20 acres of formal gardens, parkland and woodland.


Extensively restored by its current owners between 2001 and 2008, the elegant 8,593sq ft house has four main reception rooms, a new country kitchen, a vast master suite, six further bedrooms and three further bath/shower rooms. A large red-brick coach house provides garaging, storage and two first-floor apartments. Meanwhile, the traditional timber-framed buildings of the former Old Rectory Farm at the foot of the drive, which had more or less collapsed, have been rebuilt as a 1,200sq ft cottage, an 11-box stableyard and a flint barn. Other equestrian facilities include paddocks and a 200ft by 130ft manège.

Jock Lloyd-Jones of Jackson-Stops & Staff in Newmarket (01638 662231) is also in upbeat mood. Having sold a training yard and a stud in racing’s headquarters at the back end of last year, he’s busy finalising plans to launch several interesting country properties in his area. They include a substantial manor house with good outbuildings and 12 acres of land west of Cambridge, which will come to the market shortly at a guide price of £1.5m, and ‘a nice vicarage with a good live/work facility’ to the north of Newmarket, which is expected to launch with a guide of £725,000.

Fresh to the market, at £835,000, is tidy, secluded Marsh Morgen House, which stands in four acres of wooded gardens and paddocks, overlooking farmland on the outskirts of the traditional Suffolk village of Stradishall, 10 miles from both Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds. Built in the 1930s of brick under a tiled roof, the house has three reception rooms, a study, a large kitchen/breakfast room, four bedrooms, two bath/shower rooms, and stabling for three horses.

‘There’s definitely life out there,’ agrees David Clarke of Strutt & Parker in Ipswich, who recommends the somewhat gentler pace of things in north-east Suffolk, where he’s currently selling pretty Rose Farm at Horham, eight miles from Diss (London Liver-pool Street: 90 minutes) and
a handy nine-mile school run from Framlingham.

The traditional timber-framed Suffolk farmhouse, listed Grade II, has been carefully modernised and extended to provide two main reception rooms, a study, a breakfast room, a large farmhouse kitchen, a playroom, a first-floor sitting room, five bed-rooms and three bathrooms. There is also a separate three-bedroom annexe. Strutt & Parker (01473 220444) quote a guide price of £1.2m for Rose Farm, which sits in 4.6 acres of gardens and post-and-railed paddocks in a lovely rural setting to the south of Horham village.

Across the county border in an ‘undervalued’ part of Norfolk, according to Nigel Steele of Jackson-Stops & Staff in Nor-wich (01603 612333), is the area between Beccles and Bungay, on the edge of the Waveney valley south of Norwich. He quotes a guide price of £1.15m for gracious Broome Lodge at Broome, two miles from Bungay, which was built as the lodge to nearby Broome Place in 1865, but extended soon afterwards when it became home to the sister of the estate’s then owner. The house, which is, surprisingly, not listed, has been renovated and further extended in the past 10 years by the present owners, who are downsizing to a smaller house in the village.

Broome Lodge has four reception rooms, a family room, a kitchen/breakfast room, master and guest suites, three further bedrooms and two further bathrooms. It stands in splendid landscaped gardens laid out by local designer Jean Bishop, surrounded by 11 acres of undulating parkland, once part of Broome Place itself.

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