Country houses for sale

A beautiful, 900-year-old house with a lake, 11 acres of gardens and a pair of holiday cottages

Penny Churchill looks at the historic Leigh Barton, a Grade I-listed home that date back to 1120.

Down in the ever-popular South Hams AONB, the Kingsbridge office of Marchand Petit is handling the £2m sale of the impressive, Grade I-listed Leigh Barton at Churchstow, two miles from Kingsbridge, which was a Buckfast Abbey property until the Dissolution of the monasteries and later a farm, before lapsing into obscurity until the late 20th century, when it was rescued by English Heritage.

There followed a 10-year-long restoration of the entire complex of ancient buildings arranged around two courtyards, the oldest of which is the medieval main house, which dates from 1120.

There are also several more recent buildings — including a pair of 18th-century cottages, listed Grade II, now used as holiday lets — while later extensions to the main house and the standalone gatehouse date from about 1450 to 1475.

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The location and size of the complex suggests that it served in medieval times to house pilgrims journeying from Buckfast to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain.

It comprises the original four/five-bedroom main house, attached to which is a range of restored 15th-century ecclesiastical buildings, one chamber of which is now used as a library, another as a party room.

The present owners have spent the past five years developing Leigh Barton’s 11 acres of custom-designed gardens, based on monastic principles of design and incorporating plants known to have been cultivated in England before the Dissolution.

Set away from main roads towards the bottom of a quiet, sheltered valley in the heart of the South Hams countryside, where better to confront the mysteries of life in the uncertain times ahead?

Leigh Barton is for sale at £2m — see more details and pictures.

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