Doing justice to a special barn

This barn, now a luxury home, was no ordinary farm building. It is thought to have been designed on a grand scale by renowned architect Samuel Wyatt when it formed part of the Holkham estate.

This barn, now a luxury home, was no ordinary farm building. It is thought to have been designed on a grand scale by renowned architect Samuel Wyatt when it formed part of the Holkham estate. And if you thought Leicester Square was only in London, think again! CAROLINE CULOT, EDP property correspondent, headed for North Norfolk rather than the capital when she visited Wyatt's Great Barn at Leicester Square Farm in South Creake, for sale for £795,000 with Sowerbys.

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When this barn was converted into a luxury home about seven years ago, it was at last given the beautiful interior it deserved.

That is because Wyatt's Great Barn, as its name suggests, is believed to have been the work of renowned architect Samuel Wyatt who was famous for designing model farms and who is known to have created other buildings and cottages on the Holkham estate.


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Wyatt's Great Barn, Leicester Square Farm, South Creake, is for sale for £795,000 with Sowerbys.

The building was constructed with more detail and attention to proportion than would be expected for a mere threshing barn. Together with a dairy and stables, which have also been converted separately, the outbuildings form a grand frontage to Leicester Square “farmhouse”, situated at the end of the drive.

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You would have arrived on horseback along a tree-lined avenue and entered the complex through the middle entrance of the barns - all quite grand, considering it was an estate farm, and apparently not a particularly prosperous one.

No one seems to know exactly why Wyatt took the time and trouble to design the barns and probably the farmhouse, too, except that he may well have been working on Holkham estate when it was decided to rebuild the farm. But how remarkable that he did, because we now have Wyatt's Great Barn - beautifully built and forming part of that wonderfully sounding Leicester Square Farm. This name relates to the then owner of the Holkham estate, Thomas William Coke, or the Earl of Leicester, with London's Leicester Square being named after Robert Sidney, the second Earl of Leicester, who built himself a grand townhouse there.

Like so many old buildings, the barn has seen hard times, including a terrible fire, but was given a new lease on life when it was beautifully restored by current owners David and Marianne Checkland. When they took it on, it was an empty shell and the couple had it restored using reclaimed materials dating from the same period and set on making it a wonderful, open plan living space.

Mr Checkland wanted to leave the exposed brickwork, but where newer bricks were added in later years, he chose to partly plaster the walls, making it a real feature. The building was re-roofed and a chimney added, so, whereas the barn was once splendid only on the outside, it now has an interior to match.

The kitchen is huge with hand-built, painted units with a large central island with a marble worktop and an electric cream Aga set in a brick chimney breast. The kitchen goes into a dining area and round the other side is a sitting room/garden room with a chimney breast and large cast iron oil-burning stove.

Here you get the full-height windows overlooking the garden and you can sit and look back at the mezzanine level, which rises from here. This boasts a minstrel galleried landing library area with balustrade looking down to the ground floor and there is an exposed chimney breast. It is open-plan to the main sitting room which has a full-height vaulted ceiling and a feature inglenook fireplace.

A twin staircase leads to a games room with a vaulted ceiling and from the mezzanine level is a traditional hay loft-style ladder, which gives access to a storage room/bedroom five which has a lovely circular window. All the bedrooms are at one end of the barn. Two are on the ground floor, one with an en-suite bathroom and another with a shower room, and on the first floor are two more, again with en-suite bath and shower rooms.

At the rear is a formal lawn and stone and brick terrace.

The other end of the barn is a separate property and the stables and dairy have been turned into permanent and holiday homes, none of which is included in the sale.

t Wyatt's Great Barn, South Creake is for sale for £795,000 with Sowerbys on 01328 730340.

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