Country houses for sale

‘One of the finest townhouses in East Anglia’ hits the market in Bury St Edmunds

A Grade I-listed property built over stone-arched medieval cellars has come up for sale in one of Suffolk's historic market towns. Annabel Dixon takes a look.

A striking Grade I-listed townhouse that novelist Norah Lofts once called ‘home’ is up for sale with a £2.75m price tag.

Northgate House, in the heart of the historic Suffolk market town of Bury St Edmunds, is steeped in history. The six-bedroom property was built mostly in the 18th century. But it sits on top of stone-arched medieval cellars, while some of the roof timbers are thought to date back to the 17th century or earlier.

Lofts is believed to have lived at Northgate House from 1955 until 1983, when she died. The novellist penned more than 40 historical novels as well as short stories, biographies, children’s books and other non-fiction, according to Great British Life. Her historical fiction, which includes the Suffolk trilogy, was often inspired by the local area.

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In recent years, Northgate House has been renovated and brought bang up to date, with fresh and modern interiors. But it still has bucketloads of period charm including a three-storey Georgian entrance porch, full height sash windows, detailed cornicing, wood pannelled walls, and open fireplaces. The decorative ceiling in the drawing room is a real head-turner.

Downstairs, the bright, well-proportioned rooms include a double aspect reception hall, drawing room, dining room and kitchen. There’s also a music room, cloakroom, snug, boot room, and laundry room with all the mod cons.

The grand staircase leads up to the main bedroom and ensuite as well as a further five bedrooms, two dressing rooms, four bathrooms and a lounge.

There’s plenty of scope for the next owner of Northgate House to put their stamp on it. The two dressing rooms can easily be converted into bedrooms. And there’s also a wing of the house, which has been let out as a separate flat in the past. It currently comprises a lounge, kitchen and shower room.

The sprawling property spans nearly 10,000 sq ft in total.

Peter Ogilvie, property agent at Savills, which is selling the property, says: ‘This is a truly amazing town house and certainly one of the very best I have seen in my career. It has been restored and renovated with exceptional flair superbly blending period charm with contemporary style.’

Northgate House sits in a 0.58-acre parcel of land. Its mature, walled garden is carefully landscaped to include pathways, flower beds, a paved terrace and kitchen garden. There’s also that all-important storage shed and parking for four cars.

The house is on Northgate Street, a stone’s throw from the award-winning 14-acre Abbey Gardens (on the site of the former Benedictine abbey, the Abbey of St Edmund) and St Edmundsbury Cathedral. It’s also close to the A14, with easy connections to the likes of Newmarket – the home of horseracing – as well as Cambridge and Stowmarket.

Northgate House is currently on the market via Savills with a guide price of £2.75 million — see more pictures or enquire with the agent for further details.