Nestled in the heart of the Old Harlow conservation area in Essex, this enchanting Grade–II listed, five-bedroom house dates to the 17th century. Arranged across three storeys, unfolding over nearly 2,000 square feet, each room has been finished with meticulous attention to detail, perfectly complementing the house’s timber-framed beginnings and Georgian additions. Canted bays, sash windows and attic dormers frame leafy views of the charming village green opposite. At the rear, a private, part-walled garden is laid to lawn and filled with roses, lavender and salvia. Harlow Mill train station is within walking distance, where trains run directly to London Liverpool Street station in just 40 minutes.
Setting the Scene
Mulberry Green is in the Old Harlow conservation area, which has retained a distinct hamlet-like feel since its early development. This house, in a much-coveted position on the leafy village green, is made up of two parts that flow seamlessly into one another. The rear of the house is a 17th-century timber-framed building with white timber clapboard cladding and original terracotta floors. In contrast, the front of the house is a 19th-century Georgian townhouse with classical proportions. For more information, please see the History section.
The Grand Tour
The house is set back from the road behind a pretty picket fence. The warm cream double-fronted façade has a panelled front door topped with a triangular pediment and transom window. Entry is to a central hallway, which acts as a backbone to the symmetrical placement rooms on either side; the floor above mirrors the plan in typical Georgian style. On the ground floor, broad boards of wood floor run underfoot and the walls are finished in Farrow and Ball’s ‘Strong White’.
On the left of the hallway is the living room, painted in Lick’s ‘Greige’, a soft grey tone. Light streams through a canted bay window at the front of the room, and there are views out over the leafy green and the historic buildings of Old Harlow. At the other side of the room is an original Georgian period fireplace decorated with delicate oval paterae corner blocks and a moulded shelf atop a frieze decorated by swags and tied ribbons.
Across the hallway is the dining room, with views out from another bay window. On one side of an original cast-iron fireplace is an alcove with shelves and a built-in cupboard; on the other, an archway leads to the kitchen, in the oldest part of the house. A deep Belfast sink sits below three casement windows, framing views of the back garden. The original rust-toned terracotta floor contrasts beautifully with the dove grey cabinetry and the matching Aga. There is a handy pantry cupboard off the kitchen, as well as a utility room, WC and access to a cellar for storage.
Stairs rise from the hallway to the bright first-floor landing, three double bedrooms and a family bathroom. The primary bedroom at the back of the plan is painted in ‘Cornforth White’ by Farrow and Ball. Built-in wardrobes sit on either side of an original iron fireplace with bottle-green tiles. Two further bedrooms on this floor sit at the front of the house, both with six-paned sash windows, one with a cast-iron fireplace and a practical built-in wardrobe.
In the spacious family bathroom, atop dark floorboards, is an enamelled roll-top bath with an overhead shower. It is flanked on either side by two Staffordshire Charlotte basins. A soft light fills the room, pouring through one large and one tiny sash window.
A ledged and braced door opens from the first-floor landing to a staircase that leads to the second floor, where two more double bedrooms lie. Both have lovely views from dormer windows over the lime tree canopies. Tucked under the sloping eaves of the house and with exposed timber beams that are thought to be of elm, these rooms maintain an intimate and cosy feel.
The Great Outdoors
Extending from the rear of the house is a wonderful part-walled garden. Holly, yew and spruce trees create a sense of privacy, as do the brick walls that run either side of the garden, parts of which have been recently repointed. A brick path leads to a large lawn. The current owners have arranged a gravel area, bordered by a row of reclaimed railway sleepers, as an outdoor seating area ideal for an afternoon coffee or alfresco dining in the warmer months. The rear façade of the house, original white-painted clapboard cladding topped by a dappled red peg-tile roof, creates a beautiful backdrop.
Out and About
Old Harlow, just outside Harlow centre, and as the name suggests, is the most historic part of the town. It maintains a village atmosphere filled with period buildings and a communal green. Old Harlow has a Cooperative grocery store and a number of local pubs, including The Green Man, which dates to the 14th century and is just across the village green from the house. For local fare, Mayfield Farm Bakery is just a 15-minute walk from the house for freshly baked bread, pastries and cakes, and excellent coffee. New Ground, roughly a 20-minute walk, is an award-winning café.
Harlow town centre is a 10-minute drive from the house, offering daily amenities such as supermarkets, pharmacies and post office. For pursuits outdoors, Harlow Town Park is always worth a visit. The Grade II-listed gardens, designed by famed landscape architect Dame Sylvia Crowe, spread across 160 acres and encompass marshes, meadows and water gardens. For sporting pursuits, Harlow has a leisure centre as well as a rock-climbing wall. Bishop’s Stortford is also nearby, only a 20-minute drive away, where there are various restaurants and bars, including The Giggling Squid and Eat17, for an excellent selection of provisions.
For adventures in nature, Redrick’s open water swimming lake is nearby. The National Trust’s Hatfield Forest is a 20-minute drive from the house, where an 18th-century pleasure garden designed by Capability Brown sits alongside an ancient woodland.
The area is home to several good schooling options. Both Harlowbury Primary School and Fawbery and Barndard’s Primary School are within a short walking distance from the house, as is Little Fishes Preschool.
The house has excellent links for transport to London. Harlow Mill train station is a 10-minute walk; from here, trains run directly to London Liverpool Street station in approximately 40 minutes. Alternatively, a drive to London via the M11 takes around an hour. For international links, Stansted Airport is only a 10-minute drive.
Council Tax Band: G
Before the development of the New Town in the mid-20th century, Old Harlow was known simply as Harlow, its existence pre-dating the first Domesday Book.
Early settlements at Mulberry Green and Market Street are thought to date back to the 12th century when hamlets emerged around a manor named Harlowbury. The house had been passed to the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds in 1044 and remained in its possession until its dissolution in 1539. During this period, the Abbots were granted permission for an annual market and a fair, the latter of which was held on Mulberry Green.
In later centuries, Old Harlow became an important stop on the coaching route to London from Cambridge and Norwich. This route ran south from Cambridge through Harlow Mill, Old Road, Mulberry Green, and the High Street and then headed south on London Road.
This path is reflected in the pattern of public houses that emerged at these junctions. There are records of The George from 1662, while The Crown and the Marquis of Granby opened in the early 18th century. It is not known precisely when the 14th-century Jacobean-style inn on Mulberry Green, The Green Man, began operation as a coaching inn, but records tell the tale of a monk journeying to London to visit a Harlow inn for dinner for the sum cost of four pence.
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