Positioned on a quiet lane, minutes from Aldeburgh’s picturesque high street, coastline, and river, and in the town’s conservation area, is this handsome detached Victorian house. Built in 1850, the house extends to almost 1,300 sq ft, with an incredible studio space, painter’s workshop and potting shed. The house has been beautifully renovated by the current owners, who have treated it to some contemporary interventions while preserving its wonderful original features and rich character.
Setting the Scene
This house is built on what was part of the former garden of nearby Crespigny House. Divided and sold in the 1850s, the plot also included the seed house, and the original garden walls remain on the street side.
It is thought this house was built as a dairy because of the colourful Victorian tiles, often found in hallways, that also unusually extend up the lower sections of the wall. The exterior is red brick, with decorative brick courses; a very unusual row of ceramic circles run the length of the house atop the later bay windows. For more information, please see the History section.
The Grand Tour
A red-brick path leads from the front gate to a glazed porch. This opens to a front door, to the original tiled floor. On the right is a large open-plan reception and dining room, filled with light due to the windows that line two walls. A chimney breast with a warming wood-burning stove inset is in the centre of the room. The living space is currently set at the front of the house, while the rear is currently configured as a lovely bright dining space.
The kitchen is tucked around the corner and comprises freestanding kitchen cabinetry, with stainless-steel worktops set against a white brick-tiled splashback and wooden floors. Useful cupboards line one wall, and a door leads outside to the garden and the studio space beyond. A bathroom on this floor has a freestanding bath and a chequerboard-tiled floor; a welcoming study has a door to the outside.
Upstairs are three double bedrooms, all sharing a muted colour palette of greys and whites. Two bedrooms and the corridor share a modern lambinate floor, whilst the third bedroom has the original wide pine floorboards, plus a cleverly hidden sink set within cupboards and shelves. The shared bathroom, located in the centre of the plan, has a Philippe Starck basin, WC and shower tap, set against Pirelli rubber flooring. Original cast-iron column radiators are found throughout the house.
The Great Outdoors
The house is surrounded by beautiful gardens, all set behind the original Georgian walls. Divided into two parts, half is laid to lawn with planted gardens full of pheasant grasses, miscanthuses and stipa gigantea. On the other side is a courtyard with large wooden gates opening onto the road. Here lie a range of outbuildings, from a small lean-to attached to the house, currently used as a utility space, and a larger smokehouse, converted by the current owners into an incredible studio.
The rear of the garden hosts another painter’s studio, as well as a generous potting shed. This pair of outbuildings were designed around Victorian cast-iron, industrial windows.
Out and About
Aldeburgh is renowned as one of Suffolk’s most attractive coastal towns, minutes from the river. It has beautiful marshland walks, with fantastic bird watching – particularly wading birds found on the famous Hazelwood salt marsh. These lead to the Sailors Path, a route to Snape Maltings Concert Hall.
The town has a broad selection of independent shops, cafes and restaurants lining the high street. In the centre sits the Old Stage Coach Hotel, home to a superb seafood restaurant, The Suffolk Sur-Mer and Ballroom Arts – a contemporary gallery converted from the old hotel ballroom. Artisan bakers The Two Magpies has a lovely coffee shop, and Slaughden Wines has a substantial selection of vintage Bordeaux and Burgundy. Lawson’s and Aldeburgh Market Deli & Kitchen have an extensive range of seasonal fare and delicatessen.
Dogs are welcome at The Cross Keys, a welcoming pub with a selection of locally brewed Adnams craft beers, and The Lighthouse, a renowned town restaurant focusing on regional produce.
There is an independently run cinema, the UK’s oldest privately operated movie theatre. Snape Maltings, the home of the internationally renowned Aldeburgh Music Festival, is around five miles away.
In addition to its proximity to the town and seafront, the house is a short walk from the River Alde at Brick Dock. It is well placed for walks along the old railway track to Thorpeness, a unique holiday village built in the early 19th century, with an Emporium great for antique shopping, as well as The Kitchen café, Meare Café and The Dolphin pub.
Sailing facilities and a golf course are also within easy reach, and Aldeburgh Tennis Club has four championship standard courts. Thorpeness Meare boating lake and inset islands are a short stroll from Aldeburgh Beach. The RSPB Minsmere reserve is nearby, an idyllic place to walk and spot an impressive array of birds.
The picturesque market town of Woodbridge, which has an excellent variety of eateries and an independent cinema, is around a 30-minute drive west, with the popular Suffolk towns of Orford – famous in part for the popular Pump Street Bakery – and Southwold also nearby.
For rail connections to London, Saxmundham railway station is approximately 15 minutes away by car, with direct services to Liverpool Street in a little over two hours. There are regular buses to Saxmundham station as well as Ipswich and other local towns. Norwich and Stanstead Airports are each about 70 minutes by car. Norwich Airport has scheduled KLM flights with KLM to Amsterdam’s Skipol International Hub.
Council Tax Band: E
Georgian Crespigny House was built circa 1775 and is now Grade II-listed. The house is notable, in part, for its rendered and stuccoed brick façade, graded slate roofs, two-storey porches, and articulated pilasters supporting moulded cornices on both floors—the first-floor being of the Ionic order, and the ground Roman Doric.
The house was commissioned by Sir Claud Crespigny (1734–1818), who wanted to take advantage of the views across the river Alde and the sea. His brother, Philip Champion de Crespigny, was the Aldeburgh MP from 1780 – 1790. The family also lived in Champion Lodge in Camberwell.
Aldeburgh, whose name comes from ‘Alde Burgh’, meaning “old fort”, was once a critical Tudor port. Indeed, its shipbuilders built Francis Drake’s ship, The Golden Hinde, which he captained between 1577 – 1580 to circumnavigate the world. Over time though, the River Alde silted up, impacting the town’s fortunes, while coastal erosion swept away much of the centre of the old town.
Still, many wonderful historic buildings survive, including Moot Hall, the Norman Church and the Martello Tower.
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