Country houses for sale

An immaculate timber-framed rectory from the early 1400s where period charm meets a pool and a gym

St Mary’s Grange is an imposing house which stands in some 12 acres of secluded grounds on the eastern edge of Easthorpe, near Colchester, surrounded by open farmland. Penny Churchill takes a look.

Described by the poet Matthew Arnold as ‘deeply rural’, the small rustic village of Easthorpe, three miles from Marks Tey and seven miles from Colchester, Essex, lies within the farmlands of south-west Colchester in a landscape that’s a mix of small pasture and large arable fields traversed by the gentle slopes of the Roman River valley. Previously a separate parish, Easthorpe amalgamated with nearby Copford in 1949.

It is here that the Grade II-listed St Mary’s Grange lies, which is listed for sale with Strutt & Parker at a guide price of £2.5 million.

St Mary’s Grange is described in its Historic England listing as an ‘early 15th-century house, extended in the late 15th and late 16th centuries and altered in the 18th century… [its] extensive original frame is exposed with cambered tie beams, jowled storey posts, some 16th-century doors and panelling, with 18th-century panelling, doors and architraves in the east wing’.

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The imposing, 8,700sq ft house stands in some 12 acres of secluded gardens and grounds on the eastern edge of Easthorpe, surrounded by open farmland, yet within easy reach of the main A12 and commuter stations at Marks Tey and Kelvedon.

According to Mark Rimell of Strutt & Parker’s country department, the current owners, who are set to move overseas, have spared no expense in their bid to retain the essence of a Grade II*-listed building throughout an ambitious renovation and refurbishment of the house, its secondary buildings, gardens and grounds.

Period features in the main house include tall mullioned windows, ancient exposed timbers, intricate wood carving, panelling and restored medieval fireplaces.

Five versatile reception rooms include an elegant drawing room, a beamed dining room, a snooker room with a part-vaulted ceiling and French doors to the garden. A new Smallbone kitchen/breakfast room is fitted with high-quality cabinetry, stone worktops and an island unit. An ornate timber stairway leads to the first floor and the principal bedroom suite, five further bedrooms and two family bathrooms.

Additional accommodation is available in the charming, two-bedroom, converted coach house. Outbuildings include a gym, stable, wood store, triple garage and double car port.

The gardens at St Mary’s Grange are impeccably landscaped, interspersed with mature trees, and include an ornamental lake stocked with carp, an orchard, tennis court and outdoor pool.

Closest to the house is a formal garden with clipped hedging, rows of specimen trees and planted beds. A paved courtyard garden with rose beds and pergola provides a relaxing space for outdoor dining.

St Mary’s Grange is listed with Strutt & Parker at a guide price of £2.5 million.

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