Occupying a prominent position in the historic town centre of Leominster in Herefordshire is this wonderful Grade II-listed house. Constructed in the early 18th century, this late-Georgian building with early Victorian influences has been painstakingly restored. With extensive research into historically appropriate schemes and exacting attention to detail, the exceptional period interiors are revealed to full effect. Stretching to over 3,000 sq ft arranged across three floors with a large cellar and a landscaped walled garden. The house is also a few minutes walk from the local station, where trains to London Paddington take around three hours.
Setting the Scene
The Priory at Leominster was established in the 12th century, with the town quickly springing up around it. Indeed, Etnam Street was one of the last pieces of town planning by the monks of the Priory circa 1200. The town remained a lucrative church estate until the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century, and many of the medieval timber-framed buildings of this era remain today. Even after the dissolution, the rich wool and textiles trade sustained the town, as the grand architecture of the 18th and 19th centuries attests. Etnam Street has been home to many prominent Leominster citizens, including The Duke of Norfolk, who famously fought a duel over the election of 1796. For more information, please see this History section.
The Grand Tour
The house makes a striking impression from the street, with dark green rusticated masonry on the lower part of the façade contrasting with the red-brick upper part. Up a couple of steps is the two-panelled front door, set in a grand stucco round-headed reveal with a moulded architrave; a fanlight sits above. Entry is to a large entrance hall with an elaborate polychrome-tiled floor and its original fireplace and grate.
A doorway leads to a central passage, with panelling painted a glossy dark green. At the back of the plan is a large sitting room. The ceiling here is decorated with ornate plasterwork in exceptional condition, with parts of its intricate pattern playfully picked out in bright contrasting tones. The room’s focal point is a marble bullseye open fireplace in fully working order, offset by a pair of French doors at the side of the room that leads out to the patio.
A spectacular kitchen with reclaimed Georgian cabinetry and a large butler’s sink is painted in a deep yellow tone of “Giallo” by the Little Greene Paint Company. Period service bells run along the top of a kitchen door leading onto the garden beyond. A pretty cream-coloured Aga is set in the original hearth with ample reclaimed shelving and cabinetry wrapping the corner of the corresponding wall. A large living room lies at the front of the plan overlooking the street below through a pair of six-over-six sash windows with their original shutters. A downstairs WC lies across from a curved staircase which provides a beautiful walkway to the first floor.
Three large bedrooms and a family bathroom lie on the first floor along with a discretely position utility room. A bedroom at the rear of the plan is currently used as an office. It includes a beautiful panel of 19th century wallpainting stretching above an open fireplace with a marbleised trompe l’oeil fireplace. The cosy third bedroom is currently used as a snug. A large bathroom is at the rear of the plan on this floor, where half-height panelling runs along the walls and an original cast-iron fireplace with a grate is still in place. A clawfoot cast-iron bath overlooks the garden through the original sash window, creating the perfect spot to unwind.
The second floor is home to a suite of rooms, which can be closed off as required to become a self-contained annexe. Accessed by a Regency panelled door with fanlight and sash window, the floor has a private kitchen, bathroom and three further bedrooms.
The Great Outdoors
A large south-facing walled garden lies to the rear of the house. Immediately outside the house is a patio, accessed from the sitting room and kitchen, making it perfect for outdoor dining and entertaining. Recently landscaped, a further patio running along the rear of the garden is ready to burst into bloom with herbaceous plantings, fruit trees and shrubs.
Out and About
The handsome market town of Leominster is in the heart of North Herefordshire’s landscape of Black and White Villages, surrounded by the rolling hills of The Marches. The narrow streets and timber-framed architectural delights of the town centre are a striking backdrop for a town well-equipped for daily life. It has two supermarkets, a post office, a primary school, and an array of independent pubs and cafes.
The town is within striking distance of the Shropshire Hills AONB, the Cotswolds AONB and the Brecon Beacons National Park, where there are plenty of opportunities for adventures in nature. Routes can be picked up in Leominster, including the Black and White Villages Trail for cycling and the 154-mile Herefordshire Trail, meandering through wooded river valleys, hopyards and orchards.
For those keen to explore the local fare, Monkland Cheese Dairy is just outside the town centre 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 neighbouring Ludlow and Hereford. Hay-on-Wye is around 35 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 borders sheep’s milk ice cream maker Shepherds Parlour can also be found in Hay.
For transport links, Hereford station is a 10-minute train journey from Leominster or a half-hour drive. From here, direct trains run to London Paddington in approximately three hours. The cities of Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff can all be reached by car in less than two hours, and additionally, trains to Cardiff Central run from Leominster station in approximately one-and-a-half hours.
Council Tax Band: G
An ancient town emerged on this site around a grand Anglo-Saxon Abbey in 660 AD. The first recorded name of this settlement, ‘Llanllienni’ (meaning ‘church in a place of streams’ n in Welsh) was eventually anglicised to Leominster. In the 12th century, the original Abbey was replaced with a priory, which played a part in establishing the ancient Ryeland wool trade in Leominster.
Ryeland sheep, so named for the ryegrass they pasture on, are an ancient breed that originated in Herefordshire. They are referenced in writing as early as the 1300s when local monks recorded them when the Ryeland sheep in Leominster would indeed graze on the grounds of Leominster Priory. The breed’s fine-wooled fleece was ideal for hand spinning, producing wool of such renown and lucrative potential the material became known as ‘Lemster ore’ – truly the gold of the region.
Indeed, after Queen Elizabeth I received ‘Lemster’ wool stockings as a gift, she was so taken with them that she insisted on only wearing clothes made from the material after that.
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