This elegant country home is ensconced in around seven acres of rolling countryside and herbaceous garden on the outskirts of Silk Willoughby village. The 18th century house is set over two expansive levels that total over 4,000 square foot and encompass five bedrooms. Flagstones and reclaimed floorboards add to the charming, light-filled interior, where period features complement sensitive modern interventions. With a newly planted wild swimming pond and views across fields to the town of Sleaford with its prominent 13th-century church spire, the countryside is truly on the doorstep.
Setting the Scene
The house is situated on a quiet lane. A red-brick period water tower stands sentinel at the gate to the gentry farmhouse, serving as a reminder of the origins of the grounds. It now provides a charming folly with views over the open fields. The house’s earliest origins were as a medieval longhouse, with a grander Georgian addition made in the 18th century. There is a well-stocked farm shop just up the road, and the charming town of Sleaford is just a stone’s throw away with a train station and several excellent schools. For more information, please see the History section below.
The Grand Tour
Entry is through the glass-paned front door and into a perfectly proportioned barrel-vaulted hall, where a curving bannister draws the eye upward. To the front left of the plan is a bright front room with an original open fireplace. Currently configured as a study, it has verdant views onto the garden.
Further down the hall is the panelled living room. Dual aspect, the room is light-filled and looks out onto the herbaceous garden and has a Jotul stove for chillier evenings. From here, French doors lead straight out into the garden and the wrap-around patio brimming with nodding euphorbia.
In the oldest part of the house, spilling out from the living room, is the open-plan kitchen and dining area. Thoughtfully designed, the kitchen comprises reclaimed dressers and scrubbed down antique pine surfaces. Clever zinc troughs incorporated into the work surface are the perfectly considered place for keeping stashes of herbs for cooking, while solid brass taps and hardware accent the space. A Lacanche range cooker tops off the understated luxury of the kitchen. The space has an original Ancaster stone fireplace and provides ample space for a large farmhouse table and chairs.
A further back kitchen provides overflow space for entertaining, potting plants and arranging flowers. It could be a beautiful tack room or boot room; there is an excellent storage and lockable gun cabinets. Across the hall lies a utility room with a cast-iron pig trough, repurposed as a sink, as well as a WC.
Upstairs there are five large bedrooms and an expansive family bathroom; two bedrooms are en suite, and all enjoy views across the garden and fields beyond. The generous proportions of the rooms, original fireplaces and restful décor make each space a delightful retreat.
The Great Outdoors
Approximately seven acres of land surround Silk Willoughby. The current owners have established a relaxed, herbaceous garden that billows out and surrounds the house and patios. Young orchard trees are reaching maturity, and espalier pear trees define the west-facing patio. Two paddocks, currently wild meadows, would be perfect for keeping horses or establishing a smallholding. Vegetable patches have been started, providing home-grown produce, and there is a small greenhouse to kickstart seedlings.
There are a plethora of outbuildings and sheds around the house. One is fully insulated, has water and electricity and could be configured as workshops or an office. An outdoor kitchen is perfect for alfresco entertaining in the summer months, and a newly planted swimming pond is just becoming established. Attached to the house is a former two-story cart shed. The house was once a bustling farmhouse, and the original well and submerged reservoir remain. The old 19th-century water tower is now nothing more than a pretty folly, providing gentle views over the surrounding fields.
Out and About
Silk Willoughby is well placed to enjoy glorious bucolic views over the countryside yet remain in close connection to larger hubs. Good walking is rife in the gently rolling hills and valleys, with Willoughby, Walks running from the front door. The current owner’s canine companion attests wholeheartedly to the area’s excellence. Nearby, The Houblon Arms in Oaksby is an excellent country pub. The Brownlow Arms in Hough on the Hill offers a wonderful lunch for more special occasions, and the 17th-century Chequers Inn in Woolsthrope has a well-developed cocktail menu.
The area abounds with excellent schools. Kings in Grantham can claim Sir Isaac Newton as an alumni, and Kesteven and Grantham Girls School is an excellent girls’ school and the school Margaret Thatcher attended. St George’s Academy and Carre’s Grammar School are excellent academies; Grantham Prep is an award-winning International School.
Country pursuits are never far, either. The Heckington Show is the biggest village show in the country and not to be missed. Support for the local rugby club in Sleaford is strong, with regular matches throughout the season. There is a local syndicate shoot and also the Rutland Polo Club, both nearby.
The ancient city of Lincoln in 30 minutes away, which is home to several art galleries, a Waitrose and the vibrant theatre The Drill Hall; Lincoln Cathedral is one of finest examples of gothic architecture in the world and offers regular events and shows.
Grantham is 25-minutes by car and provides frequent, direct trains to Kings Cross in just over an hour. A smaller station at Sleaford connects to Nottingham as well as Gratham.
Council Tax Band: F
The countryside in the surrounding areas is steeped in vibrant history; finds from the Prehistoric era, Neolithic, Bronze, Iron, Roman and Anglo-Saxon eras have been discovered.
In 1933, local RAF Captain de la Bere and noted local historian Mr A.E. Smith discovered a likely Bronze age burial along the lane leading to the house (however, the find could not be conclusively confirmed). A board of discoveries is proudly displayed in the downstairs library, with fragments discovered and catalogued by the current owners.
In the grassy meadow on the north grounds of the plan lay the remains of the ancient village of Silkby, which is mentioned in the Doomsday Book and is now only visible as gentle mounds and tumps.