Set in Lucton, a village relatively unchanged since the middle ages, this 17th-century timber-framed house is rife with historic detail. Grade II-listed, the house is defined by its exposed oak beams, original fireplaces and a charming black and white façade. Extending to over 2,500 sq ft, it unfolds across large living spaces, four bedrooms, and attached annexe. Set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the house is perfectly positioned to enjoy the rolling pastures and wooded valleys of The Marches. It is surrounded by pretty gardens, complete with vegetable beds.
Setting the Scene
Lucton is set on the banks of the gently flowing River Lugg, established reputedly by the Wigmore family in Saxon times. The house comprises a likely medieval forge and a separate 17th-century cottage, reworked at a later date into one larger home. Built across a rubble plinth, the façade of the old forge is largely brick and now adjoins the timer-framed cottage, a fine example of a typical black and white house, for which Herefordshire is famous. For more information, see the History section.
The house is set on a quiet country lane overlooking fields and orchards. The wide-set and heavy front door, charmingly crooked, is placed under a small, gabled porch. This opens to the large reception room, where exposed chamfered beams display the bones of the house and its box brace construction. An inviting fireplace has an inset wood burner. Unexpectedly high ceilings are paired with reclaimed floorboards, resulting in a cosy yet surprisingly airy room.
A roomy hall leads to a large kitchen arranged around a central island. Windows frame views of the meadows beyond and apple trees festooned with mistletoe; when the windows are open, it is possible to hear the calming trickle of a stream beyond the house. An ample back entrance area has space for depositing muddy boots after a long walk, with a well-placed utility room next door.
The second reception room is on the opposite side of the plan. Here, the black and white façade is echoed internally; the exposed beams continue, and the walls and fire breast of rubble construction have been painted cream. The original bible cupboard remains, built into the walls. Historically, this would have been used not just to store religious texts but for keeping birth records, marriage certificates and other important documents. A large side door opens to the garden from here.
On the first floor are four bedrooms and a family bathroom. The principal bedroom is en suite and set into the eaves, with sweet dormer windows on either side of the room capturing the countryside views. Two further bedrooms have views over the rolling green fields crisscrossed with hedgerows and the same exposed beams; the fourth bedroom is accessed by its own staircase and has an adjoining WC. The family bathroom has a wonderful clawfoot bath set below windows overlooking the potagers garden below.
A self-contained annexe is on the ground floor at the back of the plan. The perfect guest suite, it has its own kitchen, bedroom and bathroom, and a separate entrance.
The Great Outdoors
The house is set in beautiful gardens, which wrap the house on three sides filled with herbaceous perennials, vegetable beds, mature trees, and shrubs. Doors open from the reception room to a beautiful space shaded by a substantial walnut tree and abounding with dainty fritillaria in the spring. A pink camellia provides a riot of colour on the earliest days of the year. The original water pump for the house is still intact and is a testament to the house’s history.
A cheerful flock of Cuckoo Maran hens is allowed to periodically graze the lawns while willow hurdles and a paling fence keep them out of the potager’s vegetable plot. Espalier apple and pear trees border a cobbled path leading to the terrace and backdoor. A striking Norway maple provides dappled shade here in the summer, while roses and wisteria arch over doorframes.
A large garage with ample storage provides parking and access to the rear of the plan through a wide field gate.
Out and About
Lucton occupies a central position in the North Herefordshire countryside. The picturesque village is within an hour’s drive of the Shropshire Hills AONB, the Malvern Hills AONB and the Brecon Beacons National Park. Adventures in nature are plenty, and routes can be picked up locally, including the Black and White Villages Trail for cycling and the 154-mile Herefordshire Trail, meandering through wooded river valleys, hopyards and orchards. Croft Castle is a stone’s throw from the centre of the village, a 17th-century manor house set within sprawling grounds of parkland, woodland, walled gardens, and even a small vineyard. The well know Lucton School, established in 1708, is minutes up the road, where residents are eligible to apply for a Pierrepont Scholarship, named after the school’s founder.
Despite this rural backdrop, Lucton village is well-placed for daily amenities. Just up the road in Aymestry, The Riverside Pub was recently voted the best pub in Herefordshire. The neighbouring village of Kingsland has a local post office, stores, and two family-run pubs. Ludlow is a 20-minute drive to the north. Well known for its striking architecture and lively gastronomic scene, the bi-annual Ludlow Food Festival is not to be missed. Leominster, a delightful market town with two supermarkets, a primary school, and an array of independent restaurants and cafes, is a 15-minute drive to the south. For those keen to explore the local fare, Monkland Cheese Dairy is just outside of Leominster and stocks a range of artisanal British cheese, the dairy’s own Little Hereford remains a firm favourite. The independent food scene in the area has long been gaining traction, with annual festivals at Ludlow and Hereford.
Hay-on-Wye is around 40 minutes drive away. Host to a renowned literature festival, Hay has over 30 bookstores, many specialising in out-of-print or hard-to-locate titles. Chapters is a celebrated local restaurant with serious foodie credentials. The beloved sheep’s milk ice cream maker, Shepherds Parlour, can also be found in Hay.
For transport links, Ludlow station is less than a 20-minute drive away, where London can be reached in under 3 hours and direct trains to Manchester in around 1.5 hours. Hereford station is just over a half-hour drive, with direct trains running to London Paddington in approximately three hours. Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff can all be reached by car in less than two hours.
Council Tax Band: E
With Saxon origins, Lucton was a quiet rural village in the Marches that grew around the parish church of St Peters, built around the time of the conquest by the Wigmores. The advent of the 17th century saw the Marches embroiled in some of the bloodiest battles in the English Civil War. Mortimer’s Cross, just up the road from Lucton, was the site of a bloody battle in 1461. A 19 year old Edward Mortimer successfully defeated an invading Lancastrian army led by Jasper Tudor and shortly afterwards declared himself King Edward IV. Local legend has it that in his teens he had his horse shod at the forge at Lucton and stayed for dinner.
An subsequent struggle in nearby Brampton Bryan is equally famous locally. During the battle, Lady Brilliana Harley, a Puritan sympathiser in increasingly Royalist territory, saw off a six-week siege and maintained the family home in her husband’s absence. Her bravery was so notable that even her aggressors were impressed with Captain Davies, describing her as “this noble lady, who commanded in chief, I may truly say with such a masculine bravery and warlike policy, that her equal I never yet saw.” The Siege of Brampton Bryan is reenacted yearly in August with cannons fired on hay bale fortifications.
The Wigmore family and many other local families supported the Cavalier cause throughout the tumultuous years of the English Civil War. They were forced to sell their long-held estates in the aftermath. A legend exists regarding the families’ close ties to the village. A great oak post position at Lucton House was subject to the belief that it would stand there “as long as the Wigmores were owners of Lucton”. The sizable post reputedly fell of its own accord in 1670, and within a few days of the new owner taking possession of the estate.
Now an idyllic village with no hint of its bloody past, Lucton is part of the Black and White Villages, so-called because of the timber and plaster houses that pepper the north Herefordshire landscape. Built throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, these houses were created using frames of unseasoned oak infilled with brick or woven strips of wood and daubed with plaster or clay. In these early times, the panels of infilled walls reflected the soft pink tones of local clay or lightly applied limewash and natural pigments.
Shifting architectural fashions in the centuries that followed their initial construction saw these facades reinterpreted. The 18th-century preference for stucco and stone finishes resulted in plastering over many of the timbers, concealing the ancient structure. It was not until the late Victorian period that the trend for exposed wood returned, and plaster coverings were removed. Oak was stained black to enhance the intricate patterns of the frames even further, and the infill panels were whitewashed.
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