Take a look inside this former 'smugglers' home on the north Norfolk coast for sale for £1.5 million
PUBLISHED: 11:02 17 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:02 17 June 2019
Standing proudly at the heart of Wells-next-the-Sea. this magnificent family home has an incredible history.
The Normans, which is currently on the market with Sowerbys at a guide price of £1.5 million, is an exquisite Grade II listed townhouse, which still presents elegance at every turn.
The current owners, who have been here for 10 years now, explain it was built in 1794 for a prominent local corn and wheat merchant.
Detailing in the plasterwork in the dining room still shows wheatsheaves, but local folklore has it there could be more to the history of the house than originally meets the eye.
"This is an area which was known for its smuggling," one of them explains. "We were told that the original owner is believed to have been involved himself and that there might even be secret tunnels leading from our beautiful vaulted cellar!"
The couple have never discovered any tunnels, but their splendid six-bedroom home retains a wealth of other original features.
"We have always had character properties and were coming from a cottage in Stiffkey that was becoming a little small for us as our children were growing into teenagers," she recalls.
"We also have a sprawling wider family and wanted somewhere that could accommodate more of us as a second home.
"This was a beautiful house and, when we first visited it, we were taken up to the top floor and were absolutely stunned by the views.
"You can see right over to Stiffkey marshes and the pine woods at Holkham. That was the clincher - we knew we wanted to be here."
The property, which had been a bed and breakfast and could still be ideal as a guest house, boutique hotel or luxury holiday accommodation, had been replumbed and rewired, but the couple decided to carry out further decorative work.
They installed a new kitchen and some bathrooms, and redecorated throughout, selecting subtle shades from a palette of Farrow & Ball paint to suit its Georgian style.
Today, The Normans offers three storeys of well-proportioned, bright accommodation.
It is entered via a wide reception hall and then comprises a sitting room, snooker room, kitchen breakfast room and utility room.
There are also two possible bedrooms, each with a private bath or shower room, at ground floor level.
Two more bedrooms, each with an en suite bathroom, can be found on each of the two floors above; there is also a family cloakroom on the first floor.
"Updating the house really was a labour of love," she admits. "We enjoyed enhancing it with features such as the beautiful chandelier made by Bluejacket Workshop, which is a replica of ones in the church at Morston."
The property, which has been let to holidaymakers between family visits, has proved to be an idyllic retreat.
The pretty walled garden is a sunny space, offering privacy for outside dining and relaxation, and the house itself embodies an air of calm.
There is parking for up to six vehicles, plus a garage.
"This is an amazing house for family holidays and gatherings," she says. "We got married from here - I remember getting ready upstairs, with all the children around me. We also had a big party to celebrate the royal wedding.
"It is just a short walk down to East Quay, where we can always find a quiet spot. In the summer we often take a kayak, fish and chips and a bottle of wine - and go down there for the evening."
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Now the children are older, however, they have decided it is time to move on, but they admit they will miss the beautiful house and its spectacular setting.
"I love waking up and looking out at the views. Every day the outlook is different, depending on the tide and the weather," she says.
"Living here has been amazing and we have been very proud to have been custodians of a house like this for the past 10 years."
The Normans, in Wells-next-the-Sea, is currently on the market with Sowerbys at a guide price of £1.5 million. For more information call 01328 711711.