Country houses for sale

‘One of the most important houses in Canterbury’ is up for sale (and it’s also one of the most beautiful)

Tens of thousands of hours of painstaking work have gone in to the salvation of Errol House, Canterbury — and the results are spectacular.

The ancient streets of Canterbury are dotted with beautiful, characterful homes, but few places tick those boxes quite so perfectly as Grade II-listed Errol House at 68, Stour Street.

A former medieval hall house, the property was gentrified in the late 18th century, and rescued from a state of dereliction by its current owners, Richard and Lisa Cochrane, following a painstaking, four-year-long restoration programme. Strutt & Parker’s Canterbury office is handling the sale at a guide price of £2m for what is ‘one of the city’s most important houses’ — a description that comes not from an over-enthusiastic agent, but from the Canterbury Archaeological Trust. Their research suggests that during the late-medieval period, a timber-frame house on the site was probably the home of the Atwood family, one of whom, Thomas Atwood, was four times mayor of the city ‘in Henry VIII’s days’.

Further research carried out by the Cochranes, who bought the house in 2013, revealed that the Georgian front was added in 1783, work made possible by the success of the owner’s brewery, which was located nearby. However, it was a very different picture that confronted the couple when, in 2013, they bought the house as a near ruin and embarked on an epic restoration that took 1,460 days to complete.

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The project involved 15,200 hours of labour; the removal of 750 tons of spoil; the sourcing of 25,000 reclaimed bricks and 78 tons of reclaimed Yorkstone flags; the use of 18 tons of three different blends of lime mortar and 18 tons of lime plaster and render; and the purchase of 48 windows with 478 crown glass units, 32 salvaged cast-iron radiators, and 1,140sq ft of 18th-century oak flooring.

The result is a home of historical integrity, elegance and charm with more than 5,616sq ft of living space on three floors, featuring an impressive reception hall and three ground-floor reception rooms, including a panelled parlour, a formal dining room and a glorious drawing room with ornate ceiling plasterwork, full-height sash windows and panelled walls depicting hand-painted native flowers. To the rear of the house is the kitchen/breakfast room, created by incorporating a former 17th-century laundry.

A Georgian staircase leads to the first-floor library, two double bedrooms, the principal bedroom suite and the family bathroom with its splendid Victorian shower bath. The second floor houses two further bedrooms and a bathroom, with a large attic bedroom above. Outside, the garden is enclosed by high brick walls festooned with climbing roses and cleverly planted to create a space of tranquillity and calm.

Errol House, Canterbury, is for sale via Strutt & Parker at £2m — see more details and pictures.