Admirers abound for Regency gem

This elegant Regency rectory is a fine example of its period, facing south so it is flooded with light all day. The building is listed in the architect's bible Pevsner's Buildings of England, a unique record of the country's most significant buildings and monuments.

This elegant Regency rectory is a fine example of its period, facing south so it is flooded with light all day. The building is listed in the architect's bible Pevsner's Buildings of England, a unique record of the country's most significant buildings and monuments.

Robyn Greenacre takes a look inside the very special Gillingham House.

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Standing proudly in rolling countryside looking out across the Waveney valley this imposing regency home has attracted many admirers over the years.


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But none were more so determined than Neville Hitcham who describes Gillingham House as “an amicable chateau”.

Having driven past the old rectory for years, musing whether the interior could match the magnificent exterior, and imagining his family growing up there, he eventually plucked up the courage to knock on the door.

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The owners turned out to be a Mr and Mrs Hoseason, of the holiday company fame, and having pleaded his case to them a sale was agreed.

Yet such is the lure of the dramatic property the Hoseason family requested the move date be put back to allow them to have one more large traditional Christmas in the house.

And as if to predict how deeply the Hitchams were also to fall in love with it, they moved in on February 14, Valentine's Day.

The approach to the house can be made by one of three drives, which all show off the well planted herbaceous borders and yew hedges set in 1.98 acres. Various mature trees including horse chestnut, beech, and lime, litter the grounds accompanied by well-stocked shrubberies.

A paved terrace immediately to the west of the house has fine views over the garden and is perfect for sitting out and enjoying evening drinks while watching the sun set.

Upon entering the house there is equal grandeur with a winding staircase spiralling to the second floor, a drawing and sitting room immediately to the left and right and a hallway leading off to a dining room, kitchen and a labyrinth of other passageways.

It is impossible not to notice how much effort has been ploughed into making this house the spectacle it is today.

The detail on the drawing room ceiling was painted 17 times before the exact shade was found.

And the need for perfection only serves to enhance the fine features which include shuttered sash windows, fireplaces, panelled doors and cornice work.

But perhaps the most breathtaking room is the dining room.

Added to the building in the 1800s, by a rector who wanted to host large parties in a bid to marry off his six daughters, the high ceilings and large bay windows overlooking the lawn, all contribute towards the splendour.

The kitchen, or should it be kitchens, will undoubtedly bowl over food lovers.

As part of a sympathetic extension added in 2003 an extra room was added on to the previous kitchen, vastly enlarging it. The result being an Aga, new range multi-function cooker, custom-built fitted units with granite worktops and concealed lighting.

There are five main bedrooms and four bathrooms on the first floor with further attic rooms ripe for conversion into more bedrooms, a study, or play area.

One persistent feature of the 18th century house is, as it is south facing, it is flooded with light at all times of day.

And admiration for the building comes from very high places indeed.

For it is featured in the architect's bible Pevsner's Building's of England. Sir Nikolaus Pevsner travelled the length and breadth of England to provide a unique record of the country's most significant buildings and monuments. Gillingham House is noted as “having a good chimneypiece inside.”

And Louis de Soissons, director at Savills, agrees with the high praise. “It's a beautiful property and an elegant regency rectory. A really special piece, it is a rare example of its kind and has beautiful views south and west facing.

“It is undisputed that this house is architecturally magnificent and has fantastic proportions.

“There is so much about it that makes it a pleasure to be inside.”

t The house is situated about 14 miles to the south east of Norwich, 22 miles away from Diss, and Beccles is only three miles away.

t The property is launched today at £1.25m.

t For details contact Savills in Norwich on 01603 229229.

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