This charming Grade II-listed thatched cottage is set on a quiet road leading out of the ancient village of Simpson on the outskirts of Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire. Built in the 17th century, the timber-framed cottage stretches to just over 950 sq ft and is ensconced in a fully mature English country garden brimming with flowering perennials and shrubs planted for year-round colour. There is a garden room providing the perfect spot to watch lazy bees wander among blossoms or to work in during passing showers.
Setting the Scene
Simpson is an ancient parish mentioned in the Doomsday Book as “Siwinestone” a derivative of Old English meaning “Sigewine’s farm”. During the 18th century, the Hanmer family owned significant portions of the village, actively championing the enclosure of the medieval, open field system. After gaining approval from Parliament in 1771, this enclosure transformed the village landscape with new field boundaries. Several associated hedgerows from that time still remain visible today. During the 20th century, the village—on account of its convenient proximity to Bletchley Park—became a popular location for billet codebreakers during the war effort.
The Grand Tour
Approaching the house from the quiet village street, a low, white picket fence frames the façade clad in brick, likely a 19th-century update to the frontage that conceals the earlier timber-framed structure. Made in buff brick with red brick dressing likely fired in the immediate vicinity, the area has historically been regarded for the high quality of the clay subsoils, ideal for brick-making. Indeed, the Grand Union Canal is within minutes of the house and once connected Birmingham to London, with the bricks fired in Simpson being one of the many goods transported. White casement windows peak out of the façade and a dormer window nestles in the pretty thatched roof.
Entering the house through a timber door with fan light above, a hall is central to the plan. A welcoming sitting room lies to one side. Walls are painted in neutral pale tones and terracotta pamment tiles run underfoot, with a vast central chamfered beam running overhead. A modern wood-burner in cream enamel has been ensconced in the original fire breast. On the opposite side of the plan lies the dining room, where a large inglenook fireplace centres the space. Original joinery is in-built alongside the hearth and the walls are painted in warm tones of Salisbury Stone. A back hall lies beyond with an alcove shelve perfect for storing cookbooks and a convenient downstairs WC. The kitchen is to the rear of the plan, warmed by a chocolate brown Aga. A backdoor leads onto a terrace and the garden beyond.
Ascending to the first floor, two bedrooms and a family bathroom are arranged around a central landing. The principal bedroom has built-in storage and views over the side garden, and the second has a charming dormer window and also a built in wardrobe. A bathroom is tucked alongside in an excellent use of the space.
Outside, a garden room is a perfect space for working, reading or relaxing. Painted in tones of ‘Breakfast Room Green’ by Farrow and Ball, the ancillary space is fully insulated with electricity access.
The Great Outdoors
The garden has been transformed into a stunning plan of herbaceous perennials and hardy native species under the care of the current owner. Roses bloom in riot with pink anemones echoing their colourful enthusiasm. A fig tree grows along sheltered garden walls and a rambling kiwi fruit vine traverses across an arbour arch. Geranium, lavender, ox eye daisy and sedum fill garden beds and clematis and chocolate vine ramble along garden walls. A shed is along side the garden room and there is additional garden storage in the former stone outhouse, now home to the garden tools used to keep the pretty plantings in top condition. A patio lies along the side return; a suntrap that is protected on three sides, it provides the perfect space for a relaxing cup of tea. A gate provides direct access to the garden from the front approach.
Out and About
Simpson village is a 10-minute drive from the centre of Milton Keynes. The town was built in the 1960s, but the site’s history stretches back well into the Middle Ages and, as a result, it is a wonderful mixture of old and new, traditional and contemporary. Several of the 20th century’s most eminent urban planners worked on the creation of Milton Keynes, including Lord Norman Foster, Sir Richard MacCormac and Ralph Erskine. On the town’s northern boundary is the beautiful River Great Ouse; in its centre are a variety of shopping and dining options, from traditional pubs to contemporary cuisine. There is a shopping centre just a short drive away; also nearby is The Hub, which contains plenty of amenities. Xscape Milton Keynes is also close, and offers a range of facilities including an indoor ski slope, a skydiving experience and a cinema. Milton Keynes is also home to Bletchley Park, the famous World War II code-breaking site, which is now open to visitors. Milton Keynes Theatre is one of the region’s leading live entertainment venues and The Stables, a smaller boutique venue, also provides an excellent array of live performances.
Nearby, the picturesque Caldecotte Lake is a wonderful attraction for those who enjoy anything from water sports to birdwatching. The surrounding countryside is peppered with bucolic villages perfect for walks, cycling, and pub lunches. Bow Brickhill and Woburn woods are a quick 10 minutes away with Woburn home to renown Abbey Estate as well as a safari park. further afield, Wicken and Leckhamstead woods are around 20 minutes away, the former hosting a delightful pub called The Lion. Stowe Gardens, a beautiful National Trust site, is a short drive away and has a charming tea shop to boot.
Bletchley train station is a quick 6-minute drive away while Milton Keynes Central station is a 9-minute drive away; both runs regular services to London Euston with a journey time of around 40 minutes. There are also connections with Bedford and proposed connections to Oxford to be completed by 2025. The M1 is also easily accessible.
*Some edits were made to this listing on 24th October regarding the historical associations with the codebreakers at Bletchley.
Council Tax Band: D
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