Mr Clarke thinks :
Stokes House has to be seen and experienced to be truly appreciated.
In this terraced townhouse, festooned with fireplaces and sash windows, you’d be forgiven for imagining a cosy but dark, little home. Not so here, for, beyond THE most inviting front door we’ve ever seen (imagine the Christmas decorations, if you will), a light-filled home with modern touches and flourishes of almost magical history awaits you.
This home began life in 1742 as The Bell Inn until 1846 when it became a bank. In 1913 the entire property was left to the local Parish and from then on, it began its transformation, from public house to gold bullion vault and finally a private home.
Renovated and extended over the years, Stokes House has lost none of its charm and only gained in character and space as it has traversed the decades. Like a fine wine, it has aged beautifully. With a footprint of just over 3,500 sq ft over three floors, it is a surprise and delight at every turn; five bedrooms, four bath/shower rooms, three reception spaces, two levels of garden, and a cellar, to complete the song, a partridge in a pear tree (sold separately).
The true character of this house is felt and seen immediately. The frontage both grand and yet most humble, all at once. You can envisage the candle-lit home from years gone by. An asymmetrical façade only entices you more, with one bay window and plentiful sash openings. In the hallway, the flagstone flooring is an instant hit to the historical senses, the inglenook fireplace in the, wait for it - drawing room, only heightens your feeling of home and love is cemented in the ornate and completely authentic 18th Century staircase.
Downstairs each room plays host to a magnificent fireplace, wrought iron, open brick or stone surround, there is a fire in every flavour. The main room for gathering is undoubtedly the south-facing kitchen diner and snug area, luminous in natural light, it is a gloriously extended space with wraparound windows and French doors on two sides of the room, beyond which you can enjoy an outdoor dining area.
Mrs Clarke loves :
The warmth this home oozes from the moment you step over the threshold.
Inside an AGA resides, heating the home and setting fire to your imagination for events you’ll future host. Elsewhere downstairs you’ll find herringbone parquet flooring, original cupboards set deep within the walls, exposed beams above head and intricate latches on original doors. It really is a modern living museum of design antiquities.
The original inner wood work of the home guides you like an historical way finder, moving up and out into every room of the house. Upstairs the bedrooms are spaced evenly throughout the first and second floors with dressing rooms and en-suites attached for thoroughly modern living requirements.
Traditionally laid out over three floors, the discovery doesn’t end there, as any a property of this period has its secrets to reveal. A cellar sits in the underbelly of this 18th Century wonder, waiting to be explored and converted for future use.
Outside, a rear space with patio is laid out for evening alfresco dining with steps leading up to a large raised terrace for the perfect vantage point over the garden. The lawn and established border and timber outbuilding (perfect for an office set up) visually regale in old world charm. The garden is concluded with a vegetable patch for that slice of the Good Life.
Stokes House is where the ages of design can sit in harmony; an abstract painting hung above an original fireplace or contemporary sculpture sat within the recess of an ancient bay window, it all works. It is self-sufficient, wonderfully restored, deeply historical and whimsically designed, with a grow your own garden mantra making home life here that little bit sweeter.
- Three words : Light my fire. (literally)
Our favourite part
The split level garden is darling.
Shipston on Stour
The best place to live in the UK? Possibly.
Shipston-on-Stour has been declared one of the best places to live on more than one occasion, and to experience this quaint, historic market town is to firmly concur in its authenticity, community spirit and bountiful qualities that make it both old-school charming and contemporary in its hosting of amenities.
If tradition take your fancy, you’ll be tickled pink by the offering of cottage hospital, butchers, fishmongers and customary peppering of pubs, of this former working wool town. For a dose of daily modern life, contemporary independent businesses are right their on your doorstep. Head to Portobello Farm, the lifestyle emporium, for a perusal of the coolest pieces for design savvy folk. Antiques, vintage and pre-loved pieces are to be discovered there. The George Townhouse and the Bower House are modern gastro pubs to satiate that appetite, morning, noon and night. Further out you’ll find the Royal Oak at Whatcote and The Fuzzy Duck (careful how you say it) at Armscote to whet the whistle.
Fancy a walk along the River Stour? it’s all yours to enjoy. But, should meandering further afield spark your imagination, head over to nearby Stratford-upon-Avon for the majesty of Shakespeare’s home digs, step into the grounds of Warwick Castle, or bimble around Chipping Campden and Moreton-in-Marsh.
National Trust gems like Upton House are also close by to really seal the deal on this stunning little market town.
Moreton-in-Marsh 8 miles (mainline to London Paddington from 90 minutes) Stratford-upon-Avon 12 miles • Banbury 14 miles (mainline to London Marylebone from 54 minutes) Oxford 31 miles • Birmingham 47 miles • London 95 miles • M40 (J11) 15 miles (all distances and times are approximate)
Primary and secondary schools in Shipston-on-Stour and Chipping Campden, grammar schools for boys and girls in Stratford-upon-Avon, independent schools include Tudor Hall, Bloxham, Kitebrook, Kingham Hill and The Croft whilst further afield are Cheltenham, Rugby, Warwick and Beaudesert Park.
A town with personality and charm
- Closest village/town: Chipping Norton, Stratford, Banbury and Kingham are close by
- Post Office: 1
- Pubs: The Bower House & The George are our go to places for a drink
- Approximate Gross Internal Area: House: 328 sq m (3,532 sq ft).
- Mains electricity, gas, water and drainage are connected. Gas fired central heating. BT line connected subject to usual transfer regulations.
- Stratford-on-Avon District Council. Telephone 01789 267575. Council Tax Band G.