Defined by its harmonious proportions, this elegant Grade II-listed Georgian house lies on the outskirts of Wells in Somerset. Spanning some 4,530 sq ft internally, it unfolds across a series of pretty reception rooms, six bedrooms and a separate one-bedroom cottage. A thoughtful restoration has preserved the interiors, while the façade has been re-rendered in lime. Rolling lawns, landscaped flower beds and several ancillary buildings form the almost four-acre plot, nestled in a beautiful rural setting; the house has uninterrupted views of the surrounding countryside and the adjacent grazing fields, separated by a handsome wooden fence. The house is wonderfully connected, close to everything Wells has to offer, and a 20-minute drive from Castle Cary, which has fast, direct trains to London in 90 minutes.
Setting the Scene
The house was once the home of John le Carré, who moved here in 1965 following his resignation from the Foreign Office. It is thought the author wrote ‘The Looking Glass War’ in the garden studio. For more information, please see the History section below.
The Grand Tour
The pretty 17th-century house is clad in a cream-painted lime stucco punctuated with a front door, flanked by limestone columns and beneath a classical pediment. Entry is to a handsome hallway, laid with flagstone with a fine wooden staircase.
On the plan’s right is the drawing room, defined by its early-Georgian fireplace and French doors that open directly to the rolling lawn. Across the hallway is the dining room. Here, a woodburning stove has been incorporated into the vast inglenook fireplace, which has been finished with beautiful 18th-century delft tiles depicting bible scenes. ‘Green Ground’ by Farrow and Ball on the walls is a cooling contrast against the warm, original oak floorboards. Next door is a cosy snug, characterised by exposed timber beams and brickwork; the space has an open fire and has been laid with flags—a reading room and a pretty conservatory finish the ground-floor plan. Intimate and practical spaces both have views over the expansive gardens.
At the front of the plan is a large kitchen. Practical terracotta tiles line the floor, and bespoke wooden cabinetry and a matching island are topped with beech. A separate rear entrance and boot room leads to a pretty courtyard planted with camellia, hydrangeas accented with a water feature, a perfect space for outdoor dining. A separate office and WC lie on the other side of the plan. A reading room and a pretty conservatory finish the ground-floor plan. Intimate and practical spaces both have views over the expansive gardens.
On the first floor of the house is the vast principal bedroom suite. Occupying one-third of the first floor, the space includes a charming bedroom finished in ‘Pale Hound’ by Farrow and Ball, a separate dressing room and a large bathroom with a bath, a shower, a vanity and a WC. Two further en suite bedrooms complete the floor; both have beautiful views over the grounds.
The second floor has three more bedrooms and a large family bathroom. There is access to the eaves for storage.
Externally, an independent cottage sits at the easterly end of the plan. A separate residence in its own right, the space has its own entrance and spans 1,017 sq ft internally. It has a sitting room, kitchen and dining room, a separate guest bathroom, and an en suite bedroom; extensive storage comes in the form of cupboards on the upstairs landing and in the bedroom. It also has a private walled garden and separate access from Stoppers Lane.
The Great Outdoors
Externally, an exceptional garden has been cultivated to include meandering walks and manicured, rolling lawns. An invisible ha-ha separates the formal grounds from the grazing fields beyond, extending to almost four acres. A formal flower garden runs the side of the house, and established beds have been planted with herbaceous plants, shrubs and fragrant roses. Decorative trees border the expansive lawn, and a wooden fence separates the paddocks. Six years ago, an extensive woodland planting program took place in the meadow.
Approached along a quiet village lane, the house has a driveway and parking area for multiple cars. There is also current planning consent for a new outbuilding with two carports, a garden store and a home office further into the overall plot of the garden.
Out and About
Located in the peaceful village of Upper Coxley, the house is a short drive from Wells, host to an array of wonderful eateries, schools, music venues and cultural amenities. There is highly regarded Goodfellows and newly opened Roots (an offshoot from the highly acclaimed restaurant in Bristol), while the Sheppey Pub in nearby Godney has a very good reputation.
There is a twice-weekly market, a food festival in October, a highly regarded Book festival and Cedars Hall, which is host to lectures and talks and a noted music venue in its own right. Glastonbury Festival is held very close by, plus the lesser-known Glastonbury Extravaganza, a one-night concert for locals in the area, is a special day in its own right.
Bucolic walks lie on the house’s doorstep, which backs onto the Southern edge of the Mendip Hills. For bird enthusiasts, there are huge wetlands on the Somerset levels and magnificent murmurations every winter.
A number of highly regarded schools lie in the area, with Wells Cathedral School, Millfield, All Hallows, Downside, Kings Brunton and several private institutions within reaching distance. The Blue School in Wells also has an excellent reputation.
For transport links, the property is well-positioned for access to Taunton, Bristol and Bath. Castle Carey train station is also a 20-minute drive away and offers regular trains to London Paddington in one hour and 20 minutes.
Council Tax Band Main House: G
Council Tax Band Studio Cottage: B
Wells has a fascinating history as a centre of spiritual interest. Excavations in the area suggest that ancient religious buildings have existed on the city’s footprint for thousands of years; there is evidence of the conversion of ancient shrines to Christian ones; in the early 8th-century, the Saxon King Ine of Wessex chose Wells as the site of a minster church
The diocese of Wells was founded by King Edward the Elder in 909, and St Andrew’s Church was made the cathedral of the new diocese. One of the most outstanding examples of ecclesiastical architecture in Britain, St Andrew’s (now commonly known as Wells Cathedral) was constructed between the 12th and 13th centuries. The 160 ft high central tower was added following a fire in the 14th century.
The largest city in Somerset for several hundred years, Wells flourished because of its wool and cloth trade. Now a bustling, historic town in its own right, the area is a melting pot of its religious history, fine architecture and contemporary institutions.
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