Country houses for sale

A glorious period-drama-style home in breathtaking grounds — and for sale at the price of a suburban detached home

Cressy Hall is an exquisitely beautiful house that will take your breath away from the moment you come up the driveway.

It’s very often the case, when looking for a new house, that you find something which seems to tick all the boxes: a beautiful house in a fine setting, with plenty of space, an interesting story to tell, and all at a price which seems too good to be true. And then you discover the huge list of things which need doing.

Thankfully, that will not be the case for those who search brings them in to contact with the almost outrageously handsome Cressy Hall, near Spalding in Lincolnshire, an astonishing house in truly special grounds which is for sale at £1.85 million. That’s the sort of money which would barely buy a detached suburban home down the A1 in St Albans, and a temptingly, almost incredibly low price for a house which looks like its sprung from the screen of a Merchant-Ivory film of 1990s. James Abbott of Savills in Stamford says that the impact and reveal of Cressy Hall around the bend in the driveway is ‘second-to-none’.

The hall is the home of the antique dealer-turned-garden-furniture designer Michael Hill and his wife, Janey, an artist, who purchased Cressy in 1990 when the house was in a poor condition and had unremarkable views over the surrounding arable fields and dykes.

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Cressy Hall is a picture-perfect three-storey brick structure that dates from 1794 and is Grade II* listed. Many original features have been retained, including a mahogany staircase, shuttered sash windows and flagstone flooring.

Ideal for anyone with an artistic bent, it has a voluminous painter’s studio that is accessed via the spacious cellars—it was once the hall’s staff quarters—and lit from a glazed ceiling above. There are four first-floor double bedrooms and a further three on the floor above.

Its nine-acre pleasure ground, set in a dense woodland plantation on the north-eastern edge of the village of Gosberton, features a garden that is full of surprises, documented by Todd Longstaffe-Gowan when he visited early last year.

The early-medieval and 17th-century houses that preceded the present dwelling had ambitious ornamental gardens, of which traces survived. The couple set out to restore them with rose and fruit orchard gardens and a large productive walled kitchen garden, making the most of the southerly aspect.

Mr Hill’s legacy at Cressy will be the magnificent topiary garden he grew from seedlings and set in the rich loamy soil of the south lawn, tracing the curve of the crescent-shaped ha-ha. Today, artfully shaped yew and box form the ‘Ming Walk’ (shaved to resemble Ming baluster vases), clouds, spheres and fowls.

Planning consent is currently in place to convert the single-storey outbuilding to the west of the hall into a one-bedroom annexe, providing a useful space for a nanny or relative.

Gosberton has all the day-to-day amenities and shops, but, for anything more, the market town of Spalding lies six miles to the south. For access to cities, the nearest station is at Peterborough, about a 20-minute drive away, from where services link to both Cambridge and London King’s Cross.

Cressy Hall is on the market for £1.85m — see more pictures and details.