This lovely four-bedroom house sits in the centre of the pretty village of Melling, located in the bucolic Lune Valley. The house, which unfolds over 3,300 sq ft, has been recently extended by the current owners to provide a voluminous and bright contemporary kitchen-dining space. The rest has been sensitively restored, with a real respect for the house’s eclectic original features. With a large garden to the rear and its far-reaching views along the valley towards the mountains, the house is in an exceptional location. Within striking distance are the picturesque Kirby Lonsdale and the county city of Lancaster, which has regular and fast connections to London Euston in around two hours.
Setting the Scene
It is thought that the core of the house could date from the late 17th century and would have originally been a barn. At the beginning of the 20th century, the house came into Cannon Grenside’s possession. He was the vicar of the village’s St. Wilfred’s Church from 1856 to 1913, and had a talent for finding and repurposing exceptional features from local ecclesiastical buildings before relocating them to his house. As such, the house saw many additions during his ownership, including stained glass displaying Grenside’s crest in the hallway, as well as the base of a font (now in the middle of the garden) and a door under the stairs, both from nearby Hornby. A poem engraved on the door describes its journey from Hornby’s Town Hall, which came down in a fire. Most importantly, the peninsula porch, with a handsome gable end, was added to the façade, bearing the inscription “Benedictus Benedicat” which translates to “May the Blessed One give a Blessing”.
The house was known as ‘Swallow’s Nest’ by Grenside, who had spotted swallows nesting under the eaves at the front. A huge storm broke over the village, washing away much of their labours. Grenside had expected them to disappear, but instead found them the next day diligently repairing the damage. For more information, please see the History section.
The Grand Tour
The house is tucked behind its front garden and a large magnolia tree which blossoms beautifully in the early summer months. The peninsula porch opens to a wide hallway, which is framed by two wooden arches with likely ecclesiastical origins. To the left is a lovely dining room with a large fireplace, which in turn leads to the open plan kitchen and dining area.
The kitchen, designed in tandem by the current owners with Lund and Law, comprises hardwood cabinetry set against quartz worktops. Yorkshire oak has been used throughout the design, both in the shaker shelves and in trays which have been included in the overall design. Integrated into the cupboards is a dual-zone wine fridge, as well as other Liebherr appliances. An Everhot electric range cooker sits in the middle of the kitchen; conveniently, the stove has an eco-mode setting that allows each plate or oven to be individually controlled/turned off. Smart porcelain tiles line the floor. With high ceilings, a large skylight and a wall of glazing that opens onto the garden, the room is bright with great connections to the outside. Alongside are a large pantry cupboard and a breakfast cupboard that can be tucked away behind shutters, as well as a brilliant utility room with more Yorkshire oak shelving for bigger pots and pans and space for a washing machine.
Beyond the kitchen is the rear entrance, which opens into a useful tongue-and-groove clad boot room with ample space to hang coats. There is also an adjacent guest WC.
The downstairs is also home to a generous drawing room at the front of the plan, behind a large square bay window. There is a fireplace with an ornate surround in the centre of the room, and some fantastic examples of decorative architraves with egg and dart mouldings. Beyond, on the other side of a beautiful arched window flanked by engaged columns, is an ideal study with a fitted desk framed by cupboards. The snug sits adjacent, warmed by a wood-burning stove and another square bay window with lovely views over the garden. A garden room has been added to the back of the house, with large expanses of glazing set within an oak frame, it is wonderfully sunny in the afternoon and evening. With a substantial slate roof, it is a space which can be enjoyed year round. This in turn opens onto a west-facing terrace that enjoys the sun throughout the afternoon.
The first floor is home to four generous double bedrooms. The principal bedroom, which sits at the front of the house and is greeted by the morning sun, has a fireplace and an en suite bathroom complete with a separate bath and shower. The remaining bedrooms share two shower rooms.
The Great Outdoors
The garden is bookended by greenery, with a large stepped garden to the rear. The area closest to the house comprises a terrace which has an area perfect for barbecuing and eating outdoors. The rest is laid to lawn and surrounded by wide flower beds. Views over the Lune Valley and its rolling fields are uninterrupted, facing towards the Howgill Fells and inspiring a wonderful feeling of expansiveness. Some incredible sunsets can be seen from the rear of the house, care of its west-facing position.
There is also a garage, as well as a further storage space which could also be a fantastic workshop. A summer house with a terrace, the setting of many a summer party past, sits at the bottom of the garden. There is an off-street parking for four cars, fitted with an electric charging point.
Out and About
The house is in a brilliant location in the centre of Melling, occupying a bucolic part of the celebrated Lune Valley. Hornby, the next village, offers various amenities such as a village shop, tea room, post office, antiques shop, nursery and a doctors’ surgery. There are some well-liked pubs nearby, including The Lunesdale Arms in Tunstall which serves delicious food and is easy walking/cycling distance from the village. There is also The Highwayman in Burrow, The Fenwick Arms in Claughton and The Plough in Lupton.
There many outdoor pursuits locally, including open-water swimming and diving facilities at Jackdaw Quarry in Capernwray, as well as an open-air pool at Ingleton during the summer months. Nearby are numerous golf clubs and popular gyms. There are many beautiful walks straight onto the moors from the village, as well as along the River Lune which runs through the bottom of the valley.
Kirkby Lonsdale is a short and picturesque drive from the house, and has an array of independent shops, bars, cafés and restaurants including The Royal Hotel, The Sun Inn, Platos, The Brewery, Avanti and Botanica. It is also home to a Booths supermarket. It hosts a market every Thursday with an abundance of fresh local produce on offer and the Christmas fair each year is particularly beautiful. The town also has rugby, football and cricket clubs.
The city of Lancaster has a fantastic cultural and music scene; it is home to a great contemporary cinema and theatre, The Dukes, and a more traditional theatre, The Grand, for pantomimes, stand-up comedy shows, and more traditional productions. There are a variety of bars, restaurants, and delis, including popular The Stonewell Spring delicatessen and wine bar. Connections into London are brilliant, with regular trains to London Euston in two and a half hours. Manchester Airport is also an hour and a half by train, and there are also fantastic links to Glasgow and Edinburgh too. The local train line from Wennington also has trains to Leeds.
Council Tax Band: F
The village of Melling, Lancashire, is a small settlement forming part of a cluster of villages along the Lune Valley, an area that boasts the densest distribution of Norman castles outside of Wales. Known locally as “The Cathedral of the Lune Valley”, St Wilfrid’s Church stands pretty and proud in Melling. Interestingly, each of the surrounding villages has evidence of a motte-and-bailey castle, a type of fortification constructed either from wood or stone built on raised ground known as a ‘motte’; it is speculated that St Wilfred’s belfry might have originally formed the manorial chapel which would have been inside Melling’s now missing castle bailey.
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