The Old Rectory is a fine six-bedroom Georgian house on the edge of the pretty village of Pylle in Somerset. Exceptionally private and peaceful, it sits in the centre of 28 acres of private parkland with unparalleled views of the North Somerset countryside. Built in 1826 in the Regency style, the house unfolds over 5,500 sq ft across two light-filled storeys and a generous full-height cellar. Painstakingly restored to an exceptional standard, the house is made up of a series of beautiful living spaces and includes a glorious Plain English Design kitchen. Additionally, there is a charming two-bedroom guest cottage, as well as ancillary barns and a chicken coop. The pretty local towns of Bruton, Wells, Frome and Glastonbury are all easily accessible, as are the larger cities of Bristol and Bath. London Paddington can be reached by train from Castle Cary station in 82 minutes, and Bristol airport is just 40 minutes away.
Setting the Scene
Lime rendered and painted a pretty cream, the late-Georgian house is of classical design. Somerset stone chimney stacks and canted bay windows adorn the building, and wisteria winds its way around the south-facing façade and secondary rear entrance. The main entrance is at the side of the house and has a grand portico with Doric columns. All elevations are punctuated with large double-glazed box sash windows. At the rear of the house is a west-facing orangery, a more recent but highly sympathetic addition. Home to the spacious kitchen, it is built from Somerset stone and blends harmoniously with the original structure.
While the façade is the perfect example of Georgian architecture, recent exhaustive renovations have completely reimagined the spaces within. The finest materials and architectural elements have been employed, while the integrity of the original home remains. The finish and attention to detail are exquisite, featuring beautiful finishes, including oak floorboards, marble chimneypieces and fine plasterwork and joinery. Cast-iron radiators have been installed in all rooms, while underfloor heating features in nearly all the bathrooms and service areas. Forbes and Lomax dolly switches and electric plates are dotted throughout the house, and walls are finished in paints from Paint and Paper Library and Farrow and Ball.
The Grand Tour
The house and grounds are accessed via electric remote and camera-operated gates, controlled by a smartphone application from any location. The private driveway winds through a canopy of lime trees, which are lit up at nighttime, and surrounded by snowdrops in February and March, past the pretty guest cottage and characterful barns, culminating in a parking area at the front of the house; there is further parking at the rear of the house next to the service entrance.
The entrance portico opens to the reception hall and main hallway, which has an elegant wide-set vista that spans the entire depth of the house towards the kitchen. The reception hall retains the original sweeping cantilever staircase, with a wood burner set into the hearth. Oak floorboards run underfoot and extend into the series of living spaces that unfold through the entire ground floor.
Companion rooms, the drawing and the dining room are positioned next to one another. Both are set at the front of the house with exceptional views over the grounds through their large French windows with panelled shutters set into the canted bays. Fine mouldings define the elevations, and elegant plasterwork cornicing frames both spaces. Each room features a handsome marble chimneypiece, the drawing room with a wood burner inset, and the dining room with an open fire. The cosy library is positioned opposite and has walls of custom-built cabinetry and open bookshelves flanking a wooden Regency chimneypiece and another wood burner.
A door midway along the hallway bisects the entire plan and opens to the service areas. Here, there is a separate study and secondary sitting room conveniently positioned just off the kitchen. The butler’s pantry contains the original glass-fronted cupboards, which have been fully restored and are a wonderful place to store treasured china and glassware. A guest cloakroom is set off this room. The service entrance hallway at the rear doubles as a boot room. The backstairs are positioned here with secondary access to the upper floor.
The kitchen was built as part of the second phase of the house’s construction. An orangery spanning over 35 feet in depth, it is a wonderfully bright room with a large pitched roof lantern set into the room’s tall ceiling. French windows open to the expansive stone terrace with wonderful views of the gardens. Pale aged and honed flagstones run underfoot, warmed by underfloor heating.
The kitchen is by Plain English Design, featuring cupboards in one of their five original designs, ‘Spitalfields’. The generous central island has oak resting atop, while durable pale Corian is used for additional work surfaces; a beautiful pedimented dresser is positioned along one wall. Appliances include a smart five-oven electric Aga with two plates and a separate induction hob; one oven is conveniently fan assisted. There is a pan-filler tap positioned on the wall above. Integrated appliances include two separate Fisher and Paykel dishwashers for convenience when entertaining. Like the drawing and dining rooms, this entire room has a Sonos speaker system, and there is also a capacious walk-in cold room fridge. The thoughtful choice of paint colours throughout the house is typified in this room, where a subtle variation of three shades of ‘lead’ has been used separately on walls and cupboards, adding depth to the space.
Immediately adjacent to the kitchen is a perfectly positioned utility room. Here, cabinetry is of the same design and topped with oak, cleverly concealing two integrated full-height freezers and space for a washing machine and a tumble dryer. Off the main hall are steps discreetly hidden behind a door that leads to a dry and spacious cellar and plant room, with great opportunity for further development into a games room or home cinema. The ceilings have an excellent height, and the walls and floors have been cement treated. Additionally, this lower-ground space has been fitted with piping for air conditioning to accommodate a wine cellar.
The six spacious bedroom suites are all positioned on the first floor. Beautifully designed, each has a generous en suite bathroom. Sanitary and brassware in all are by Fired Earth, and all have underfloor heating. The principal bedroom is exceptionally well-appointed and has large wardrobes. Its bathroom features a bateau cast-iron bath, double sinks set into a vanity and a generous shower with steam room functions. A television screen is conveniently set into the wall beside the bathtub. Views are exceptional from this floor and capture the walled and main gardens and countryside beyond.
Ancillary buildings include the guest cottage, which has been fully and completely rebuilt from Somerset stone and restored in recent years. It is home to two bedrooms, a bathroom, a cosy sitting room, and an eat-in kitchen. Conveniently, the cottage has its own separate entrance and driveway from Pylle Hill. The three old, interconnected barns combine to create a beautiful vernacular structure with open rafters and pitch roofs. Subject to planning consent, these spaces could make an excellent leisure complex. West of the walled garden is an old wooden chicken coop, which already has planning permission for replacement with a separate office structure, details of which can be found here.
The Great Outdoors
Set into the gentle hillside, the grounds at The Old Rectory encompass beautiful parkland bound by estate railings. The gardens are exceptionally private, with outstanding views of the Somerset countryside for miles around. Immediately surrounding the orangery and kitchen is a stone terrace with plentiful space for seating. Here, a Royal Tubs electric hot tub offers an opportunity for deep relaxation and is useable all year round. Discreetly positioned at the rear of the terrace, it is clad in handsome larch wood and designed as a deep ‘barrel shape’, quietly blending into its natural surroundings. Regency design balusters bind the terrace. Pea gravel pathways wrap around the circumference of the house, edged with herbaceous border plants, including banks of lavender, hydrangeas and roses from David Austin.
A series of expansive lawns are set on different levels at the front and rear of the house, gently descending from south to north via sets of Somerset stone steps to the croquet lawn. These lead to a brilliant hard tennis court at the edge of the grounds. To the east of the house is the incredible Victorian walled garden, comprising a chicken run, a small orchard and raised growing beds, currently used solely for organic produce.
Mature trees surround the house, including cedar trees to the rear and lime trees nearest the entrance. To the south and west of the grounds is further agricultural land that makes up the remainder of the 28 acres. This area conveniently has its own private access drive further along Pylle Hill.
Out and About
Pylle is a pretty village with a Grade II*-listed church and village hall. Additionally, the excellent Jon Thorner’s farm shop is very close by. Glastonbury town centre is 20 minutes’ drive away; the Glastonbury Festival site is also reachable in 20 minutes by foot (with local residents having access to complimentary tickets). In addition, the independent shops, cafes and restaurants of Wells, Frome, Bruton and the highlights of Hauser & Wirth Somerset, Osip, The Old Pharmacy and The Newt are all about a 15-20 minutes’ drive away.
The area is well-renowned for its beautiful countryside, with vast open fields surrounding the house, and for more extensive walking opportunities; the Mendip Hills, Cheddar Gorge, Stockhill Wood and the Chew Valley are all on the doorstep. For more urban pursuits, the cities of Bristol and Bath are around an hour or 50 minutes away by car, respectively.
This part of Somerset is particularly well served by excellent schools. Independent schools include Millfield Senior and Prep Schools, Wells Cathedral School, All Hallows, Hazlegrove, Downside, Sherbourne and Bruton. State schools include Strode College in Street, The Blue School in Wells and St Dunstan’s School in Glastonbury.
Direct train services to London Paddington are accessible via Castle Cary, a 10-minute drive away, with a journey time of 82 minutes. The national motorway network is via the A303 (M3), and Bristol International Airport is easily reached in around 40 minutes by car.
Council Tax Band: G
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