Country houses for sale

Laurie Lee’s childhood home, the house that inspired ‘Cider with Rosie’, is up for sale

Rosebank Cottages, Laurie Lee's childhood home, could be yours for just £475,000 but requires 'comprehensive renovation'.

Laurie Lee’s childhood home has come up for sale. A part of the building that featured so prominently in Cider with Rosie is on the market for £475,000.

Lee, his mother and six siblings moved from Stroud to Bank Cottages (now Rosebank Cottages) in Slad in 1917, when the author was ‘set down from the carrier’s cart at the age of three’. His recollection of wading through tall grasses teeming with grasshoppers under a sky slashed by ‘frenzied larks’ until his sisters rescued him and led him safely to the cottage shapes the first chapter of his 1959 masterpiece.

The Slad Valley is one of the most famous spots in the Cotswolds, thanks to Laurie Lee's classic memoir.

The Slad Valley is one of the most famous spots in the Cotswolds, thanks to Laurie Lee’s classic memoir.

‘That was the day we came to the village, in the summer of the last year of the First World War,’ wrote Lee, ‘To a cottage that stood in a half-acre of garden on a steep bank above a lake; a cottage with three floors and a cellar and a treasure in the walls, with a pump and apple trees, syringa and strawberries, rooks in the chimneys, frogs in the cellar, mushrooms on the ceiling, and all for three and sixpence a week.’

The charm of Rosebank Cottages has remained intact since then, although there no longer are frogs in the cellar and the rent, if charged, would be rather a lot more than three and sixpence a week.

The Grade II-listed house, say selling agents Hampton International, is in need of ‘a comprehensive programme of restoration and renovation’ in line with local planning and conservation policies — in 2016, the cottage’s owners fell foul of the local authority and were told to reverse changes they had made to the interiors.

But with more than 2,000 sq ft of living space, original features that include exposed beams and the views that so charmed Lee, it offers plenty of opportunities.

Slad and Rosebank Cottages always had a special place in Lee’s heart. Although he left the village as a teenager for an adventurous life that took him to London and, later, Spain, where he became an International Brigade volunteer in the Civil War, he returned to Slad in the 1960s and chose to spend the rest of his days close to his childhood home until he died in 1997.

Laurie Lee, author in the garden of his home in Slad, Gloucestershire, in 1994.

Laurie Lee, author in the garden of his home in Slad, Gloucestershire, in 1994.

Now Rosebank Cottages is looking for a buyer that will build on Lee’s heritage and once again turn the house into a much-loved family home.

Rosebank Cottages is for sale through Hampton International at £475k — see more details and pictures.