See inside: the former village pub once home to a famous 18th century surgeon
- Credit: Archant
From the home of a leading East Anglian surgeon in the 18th century to a watering hole where artist Sir Alfred Munnings once drank, this Grade II listed property in Shotesham, near Norwich, has had a varied past and is now up for sale with Brown & Co for £1,450,000.
When John Albert moved to Norfolk, over 30 years ago, he assumed he would live in the city. He had no desire to live in a small village or, he says, in a former pub.
This all changed when he visited Dukes Head in Shotesham, a Grade II listed Queen Anne-style home, with impressive Dutch gables, a pantile roof and views overlooking Shotesham Common.
"The big advantage of coming to Norfolk," he says, "is that you can work in the city and live in the country. There's no doubt about it - the countryside is beautiful. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else."
The property was used as a coaching inn in the late 19th/early 20th century, when artist Sir Alfred Munnings was a patron. But this is just a small snapshot of the property's story. Early parts of the building were completed in the 16th-17th centuries, and later additions, mostly towards the front, were finished in 1712.
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One of the property's earliest known occupants was Benjamin Gooch, a well-known surgeon of the 18th century who ran England's first cottage hospital, based in Shotesham. In 1771, he founded the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital under the directon of landowner William Fellowes.
As testament to his service, to both the village and its surrounding area, Gooch and his assistant James Durban are buried in the nearby All Saints churchyard.
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In the 1830s, the property became home to the Mingay family when William James Mingay RN lived there with his wife Cornelia. Remnants of their time here can still be seen today. William's initials - and those of his son, Parker Fuller - are inscribed on the north wall of the house, and the mantelpiece to the inglenook fireplace in the drawing room, which was commissioned by Cornelia, still stands. She wrote about it in her will which was discovered hidden in the chimney breast.
The property became The Dukes Head in the 1890s, when it traded as an inn, and although the name has continued to stick, it became a private residence just a few decades later. It returned to medical ownership again in 1948, when it was bought by Dr Kenneth Latter, a prominent Norwich physician and its current vendor, retired orthapedic surgeon John Albert, has also continued its legacy.
Since purchasing the house over 30 years ago, he and his wife have undertaken extensive alterations to the property.
"When we moved in, it required a lot of work," he says. "We had the builders - the local village builders who had looked after it for decades - in for around three years." Alterations included restorative work to insulate the roof, re-lay tiles and fully rewire the property.
The top floor - originally the servants quarters - was also reconfigured, and saw a previously undeveloped space transformed into what is now used as a study, bedroom and bathroom.
But the renovations have been very careful, says John, and although it has served as a functional yet well-loved family home, they have always been mindful of the property's heritage.
"People who live in old houses are incumbent," he says. "You're just looking after it for the next generation."
The legacy appears to have served John and his family well, and he says that, despite its history, they have never had a bad experience. "People often ask, when you have an old house, if it's haunted. We've had nothing untoward, no bad experiences. It's always been very comfortable to live in."
The property offers a reception hall, drawing room, dining room and kitchen/breakfast room on the ground floor, as well as a utility room and access to the cellar.
On the first floor, there are five well-proportioned bedrooms - including a master suite with adjacent dressing room - and two family bathrooms. Two further double bedrooms, and a shower room, can be found on the floor above.
The grounds surrounding the property extend to approximately 1.6 acres and include a heated swimming pool, hard tennis court and landscaped gardens, which have been created by a RHS Chelsea Flower Show award-winning garden designer.
Further living accommodation can also be found in a two-storey, purpose-built annexe. Originally built for John's elderly parents, it offers two bedrooms, a bathroom and an open-plan kitchen/reception room, and would be ideal for a family who might need to consider elderly relatives.
For more information about this property, which is on the market for £1,450,000, contact Brown & Co on 01603 629871.