This expansive three-bedroom apartment sits on the top floor of Bliss Mill, a remarkable Victorian Grade II*-listed property on the rural outskirts of popular Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire. The former tweed mill was built in 1872 and supplied fabric for military uniforms and horse blankets in the First World War. Extending over 1,730 sq ft internally, the apartment has incredible far-reaching views, as well as the use of a heated swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi, tennis & squash courts and a gym. The mill’s grounds extend over six acres, including manicured gardens. Trains to London from nearby Kingham take just over an hour and 20 minutes.
Setting the Scene
Constructed from Cotswold stone and lined with attractive Victorian bricks, the former mill was converted into apartments around 1988. The building was designed by architect George Woodhouse, a Lancashire-based architect who specialised in mills and was commissioned by William Bliss, a cloth manufacturer who wanted to make fine tweed from locally produced wool.
The top storey of the mill, which is where this apartment is found, has twin arcaded lights, which frame remarkable views over rolling hills and bathe the room in light throughout the day. In the communal areas, the building has a more industrial appearance; cast-iron columns carry beams bearing beautiful brick vaults. The courtyard building was constructed to house the weaving of the tweed cloth and now contains additional apartments. For more information, please see the History section.
The Grand Tour
Two lifts lead up to the top floor, where a door opens into a wide bright hallway. Lined with fitted cupboards along one side, the opposite wall is painted a sunny yellow and crowned by a large skylight. To one side of the corridor is an open-plan kitchen, dining and living area which leads into a study. The kitchen is composed of contemporary cabinetry, some of which are painted with ‘Setting Plaster’ by Farrow & Ball, set against an English oak worktop and a floor lined with patterned Bert & May tiles.
The open-plan dining room and sitting room lies beyond. Both rooms share an engineered oak parquet floor, which chimes with the exposed brick walls. An incredible run of arched windows frame two sides of the room, providing lovely views over the common and even grazing cattle during the summer months when there are also spectacular sunsets. Cast-iron radiators are found throughout most of the apartment.
Three generous double bedrooms sit on the other side of the apartment. All share the same exposed brick walls, fitted cupboards, and incredible arched windows, each flanking a decorative Corinthian column. The principal bedroom has an en suite bathroom, decorated with Tadelakt applied to the walls and tiles by Marrakech Design, as does the family bathroom.
The mill is also home to an indoor heated swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi, tennis court, squash court and gym. The apartment has a garage with electricity and storage, where it has an allocated parking space.
The Great Outdoors
Bliss Mill is home to approximately six acres of landscaped garden, including the old mill race, which at one stage would have provided the moving water to operate the mill’s machinery. There is plenty of space for dining outdoors, including a large terrace, as well as an area for playing boules.
Out and About
The pretty town of Chipping Norton – the highest town in Oxfordshire – sits in the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is home to a variety of independent shops, pubs, and restaurants, as well as a theatre and cinema.
The ever-popular organic Daylesford farm shop is minutes from the house, as is Soho Farmhouse and Burford Garden Centre. Visitor attractions include many National Trust properties, most notably Chastleton House, Upton House, Broughton Castle and Warwick Castle, in addition to countless scenic walks. There are also some excellent pubs within a 15 minute drive from Bliss Mill, including The Fox in Oddington, The Chequers in Churchill and The Wild Rabbit in Kingham.
Oxford, with its university and excellent schools, including The Dragon School and St Edwards, is 20 miles from Bliss Mill. Locally there is also a wide range of highly regarded independent and state schools such as, Chipping Norton School, Kitebrook, Tudor Hall, Bloxham, and Sibford Ferris.
Transport links are excellent, with good mainline train services from Kingham to London in just over an hour and Oxford Parkway in circa 50 minutes.
Tenure: Share of Freehold
Lease Length: Approx. 870 remaining
Service Charge: Approx. £8,900 per annum
Ground Rent: Approx. n/a
Council Tax Band: F
Please note that the sellers of this property have a family connection to an employee of The Modern House Ltd.
Chipping Norton has a long history, dating back to medieval times, as a significant centre of England’s wool trade. It hosted one of the two main wool markets in the region; in fact, ‘Chipping’ comes from the medieval term for market.
The market towns of the Cotswolds would have been bustling with wealthy wool merchants who descended to buy what was known as the best wool in Europe. According to a 12th-century saying, ‘in Europe the best wool is English, and in England the best wool is Cotswold’.
In the early 20th century, between December 1913 to June 1914, Bliss Mill’s millworkers went on strike over the right of the workers to join a trade union. The mill began to prosper the following year due to its large orders for khaki to clothe the British Army fighting in the First World War.
After over a hundred years of production, the mill closed in 1980 and was converted into apartments about eight years later.
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