Country houses for sale

The beautiful cottage in Dartmoor saved by extraordinary villagers’ efforts

This beautiful cottage only survived its first 500 years thanks to heroic villagers. Now it's looking for a new owner.

Late at night on Saturday 16th May back in 1970, a fire ravaged through the beautiful Dartmoor village of Chagford.

Some 70 firemen were called to deal with the blaze, which burned so fiercely that the main street was cordoned off for 10 hours.

At the heart of the blaze was the Bishop’s House, a beautiful old property that, at over 500 years old, was the oldest in the village.

Dozens of villagers helped the firefighters control the blaze, and rescued countless pieces of furniture and mementoes from homes which were in the line of the spreading fire.

Even the local youth club joined in: two of its members were ordered to get on their bicycles and cycle round the village getting people out of bed to help.

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Eventually, it was under control. Bishop’s House – like several other thatched cottages – completely lost its roof and was badly waterlogged, but otherwise the valiant efforts of the rescue crews helped keep this historic dwelling standing.

“It was the best concerted effort I have ever seen,” said Bob Chandler, the Divisional Fire Officer, when speaking to The Express & Echo after the fire.

“The occupants of the cottages owe them a great debt.”

Bishops House - Chagford

They do indeed. And because of those efforts, some 46 years later the cottage is still standing, and still in marvellous condition – looking set to stand for another 500 years.

The grade II* house has now come to the market via Strutt & Parker, who list a guide price of £675,000.

Bishops House - Chagford

For that you get a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house boasting a sitting room with a large inglenook fireplace. The medieval roof of the sitting room survived the fire, as did many other features – including the wonderful doors you see pictured here.

There is also a beautiful garden, a workshop and parking for two cars, all in the heart of a bustling village which boasts a primary school, health centre and sports facilities. Swish hotels and restaurants including Bovey Castle and Gidleigh Park are within three miles, while Exeter is just over 20 miles away.

And as for the neighbours? If that night back in 1970 is anything to go by, you’ll be able to count on them if ever you find yourself in need of help.