Grade II-listed cottage for sale at Wimpole Hall
PUBLISHED: 17:00 31 December 2016
Iliffe Media Ltd
Owned and maintained by The National Trust, the Wimpole Estate – which boasts the largest house in Cambridgeshire – is located eight and a half miles southwest of Cambridge and was previously the home of Rudyard Kipling’s daughter, Elsie Bambridge, who lived in it with her husband, Captain George Bambridge, and bequeathed it to the trust upon her death in 1976.
The Thornberry Hill Cottages are five enchanting period cottages just down the road from the house and only two of them are currently in full-time use. The one for sale has been extended and fully refurbished and offers beautifully presented accommodation over three floors, while still retaining many of its original features.
The cottage, believed to have been built in the 1770s, is set within mature and private gardens and grounds with panoramic views over the Wimpole Estate and is conveniently placed for access to railway stations, such as Royston and Shepreth, which are both just a few miles away.
Darren Carter, an aeronautical engineer with his own aerospace company, has lived here for nearly five years, on his own at first and then with his partner, Hannah. “I moved here from Hertfordshire way,” he recalled. “I live here with my wife – we got married in September this year.
“We’ve kind of reinvigorated the property, redecorated throughout, re-carpeted and had a new kitchen,” he continued. “It was quite run-down when we moved in. A lady had been living on her own here for about 12 or 13 years, I believe, and it was not so aesthetically pleasing. We’ve tried to change a few things and put a bit more life into the place.”
As the building is grade II-listed, there are limitations to what can be done, although a dining room extension with a great little garden room at the end was put in at some point in the past.
How would Darren describe the couple’s taste when it comes to interior design? “Country, but with a bit of modernism as well,” he replied. “I’m only in my 30s, my wife’s in her late 20s, so we just brought it up to our level.”
As mentioned, Rudyard Kipling’s daughter, Elsie Bambridge, resided at Wimpole Hall (she is buried at St Andrew’s Church in the grounds) and it seems the staunch protector of her father’s legacy also had a fondness for some of the buildings scattered around.
“She said this was the finest part of the estate, these houses here,” revealed Darren, who truly appreciates the beauty of the site. “Farm workers would have lived here back then and there have been small extensions over the years. We didn’t put any of them on – they were done previously.”
Asked what he and his wife like most about living in the cottage, Darren said: “We’ve got semi-isolation, but it’s also a mile and a half to Orwell, so on a Sunday we can walk to the pub.
“We’re seven miles outside of Cambridge – we can be in town in 10 minutes. We’ve got the beautiful, rural National Trust area to walk the dog in, yet we’re only on the edge of town.”
Residents on the estate are few and far between (there are about seven cottages in total) and they generally have free run of the estate, though there is one limitation. “You can go everywhere except inside the hall – you have to pay to go inside,” said Darren, “but the rest of it is all open parkland.
“Over the winter, once all the visitors have gone home, you have the whole place to yourself – you’re very, very lucky. We will sincerely miss it.”
Clearly happy and at peace in their own little corner of rural England, why have the Carters decided to move? “Probably to be closer to family,” explained Darren. “We’re contemplating starting a family ourselves and we’d obviously like to take the burden off by being closer to family!
“Our family aren’t from this area. My wife’s family are from Shrewsbury and mine are more Hitchin way. Not too far, but it might just be easier.
“It’s probably a newly-wed thing as well where we’ve said: ‘Right, let’s start our next chapter’.”