Country houses for sale

A magnificent Lake District mansion designed by the man who built the National Portrait Gallery

Casterton Grange was built for a vicar by a church architect who would one day go on to design the National Portrait Gallery – and it's now looking for a new owner.

It’s hard to imagine a Cumbrian vicar being able to commission an eminent architect to build a house. Yet in 1848 that’s precisely what happened when Rev David Barclay-Bevan asked Ewan Christian to create a family home for him – the result was Casterton Grange, a wonderful place that’s currently for sale via Davis & Bowring.

The clue to the good reverend’s ability to fund the erection of a house on such a grand scale – seven bedrooms and three storeys spanning over 10,000sq ft, set with 52 acres of land near Kirby Lonsdale, and now looking for a new owner – lies in his name: the ‘Barclay’ in David Barclay Bevan hints at the occupation of his father, David Bevan, a partner at Barclays Bank (then known as Barclay, Bevan & Co) and a titan of the British financial world.

Christian was at the start of a career which would one day see him design the National Portrait Gallery, but at the time most of his work was in building and restoring churches, among them Carlisle Cathedral.

Pugin is said to have been a major influence on Christian, but it’s also not hard to see the ecclesiastical influences in the design of Casterton Grange, in everything from the brickwork and the graceful windows to the main tower.

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Inside, however, this 170-year-old home is every inch the comfortable family home with some wonderful features. The tower, for example, is a guest suite accessed via a spiral staircase with a separate shower room, sitting room and views every bit as wonderful as you’d expect.

There is also a separate master suite which boasts a dressing room, as well as five further bedrooms and four bathrooms.

The living spaces downstairs have been beautifully decorated, retaining original features wherever possible but giving them a modern twist – the stone fireplace in the snooker room, for example, no longer has a fire but instead serves as a grand cocktail cabinet.

Those 21st century touches go beyond the smartly-finished decord: there is high-speed fibre internet (installed under the B4RN scheme) and cabling to take the internet, music and television connections throughout the house.

Perhaps most interestingly of all, one of the original features is actually among the most modern: the property’s distinctive tower was dismantled many years ago, but the present owners had it rebuilt according to the original design.

Away from the main house there is a two-bedroom lodge and stables which have been converted into another living space, the latter having an upstairs living space with beautiful views across grounds that include gardens, fields, outbuildings, woodland, paddocks and a tennis court.

There are also plans to turn one of the old farm buildings into a swimming pool and leisure suite, and also to convert the vaulted cellar into an atmospheric cinema room.

Casterton Grange is for sale via Davis & Bowring, price on application – see more details and pictures here.

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