Country houses for sale

A fascinating house for sale where you can sleep in your very own jail cell

The Old Court is a wonderful building where you can feel the history emanating from the walls – particularly in the old judges' chambers and the jail cells down below.

Located a few miles south of Bristol and west of Bath in the delightfully-named village of Temple Cloud, The Old Court House dates back to 1857 when it was erected as a police station and magistrates’ court.

It has long since been converted into a home, however, with the present owners having been here for 20 years – they have both lived in it as a family home and also run it as a novel bed & breakfast. It’s on the market at £795,000 via Savills and Debbie Fortune.

The centrepiece of the building is the magistrates’ courtroom, 40ft long, with a vaulted ceiling – you can almost hear the bang of the gavel just looking at the place.

It’s not just the grand spaces which give this place its character, however – it’s the little touches. The doors, the floors, the fireplaces, the windows… There’s even a trapdoor from where the accused would appear when it was their turn to appear in front of the bench, having made their way through a metal gate and up the twisting stone staircase from the three brick-vaulted jail cells down below.

The cells aren’t all there is on the ground floor, however, since immediately below the Court Room is a part of the building that can be used as a completely self-contained residence.

It has its own living room, kitchen and bathroom, plus a separate entrance.

Elsewhere on the ground floor there is a dining room, large kitchen and a study.

Upstairs, as well as the courtroom itself, there is further living space plus the five main bedrooms. There are also a further two attic rooms which can provide extra accommodation.

All in all the place is a real rare find – David Wild of Savills calls it ‘quirky and intriguing’, while Joanna Tilley of co-agents Debbie Fortune describes it as a chance to become ‘the custodian of a piece of local history’. But not, thankfully, the custodian of one of the ne’er-do-wells who once stood on the wrong side of that bench back in 19th century England…

The Old Court House is for sale through OnTheMarket.com at £795,000 – see more details via agents Savills and Debbie Fortune.


Best country houses for sale this week

Catch up on the best country houses for sale this week that have come to the market via Country Life.