For families looking for property in Cornwall, the market is currently flooded with fine houses
Nigel Stubbs of Jackson- Stops & Staff in Truro was more than pleasantly surprised at the sale this year of The Old Vicarage at Mylor Churchtown, near Falmouth, south Cornwall, for close to its £2.45 million guide price, after more than two years on the market. Purchased from the Church ‘in very poor order’ some years ago, the substantial former vicarage, built in about 1823 and set in 1-and-a-half acres of wooded grounds overlooking Mylor Harbour, the Carrick Roads and the Roseland Peninsula, was meticulously restored and relaunched on the market in July 2013. In what Mr Stubbs modestly describes as ‘a fairly significant sale for Cornwall’, the landmark property was purchased by buyers from Gloucestershire, who were already familiar with this beautiful part of the south Cornish coast, having kept a yacht in the harbour for several years.
In difficult times, one swallow can sometimes make a summer and it may be no coincidence that, sensing an upturn in the market, the owner of one of north Cornwall’s most enviable coastal properties, Trethow House in Constantine Bay, near Padstow, has seized the moment to launch it on the market this week, at a guide price of £1.75m, through Cornish agents Lillicrap Chilcott (01872 273473).
Although by no means one of Cornwall’s grandest houses, Trethow is arguably one of the best located, being the very last house on the road to Constantine Bay beach, with 3,774sq ft of adaptable accommodation and obvious potential for redevelopment. Previously known as Lees Nook, it’s currently divided into two adjoining, four-bedroom houses (one a successful holiday let) set in almost half an acre of level gardens and protected by sand dunes 100 yards from the beach.
For sale on the open market for the first time in more than 90 years, the property is known to have been acquired by one ‘Wrecker’ Lee in 1847, shortly after he was implicated in the disappearance of a large haul of wrecked goods from a nearby beach. In 1924, it was sold to a Mrs Foster, who owned the house until 1956, when it was bought privately by the present owner’s parents, who had rented it since 1947.
With its golden-sand beach and sheltered coves a mere 15-minute drive from Newquay airport, Constantine Bay is ‘an immensely sought-after part of the north Cornish coastline with access to a huge variety of water-sports, including sailing, fishing, kayaking, waterskiing, windsurfing and kitesurfing’, the agents point out. ‘Cornwall has long been regarded as a place to retire to, prime second-home territory or the perfect place to visit for a luxury getaway,’ says Exeter-based Christopher Bailey of Knight Frank (01392 423111), who goes a step further, arguing that the county is also ‘a seriously good option’ for families who can’t find what they want in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Dorset.
‘Thanks to the vastly improved connectivity achieved in rural areas of Cornwall in the past five years, the county now offers some of the fastest broadband speeds of anywhere in the UK—something of vital importance to anyone thinking of working from home,’ continues Mr Bailey. ‘Add to that an excellent choice of schools, both private and state, and better communication links with London and what you might call the “Midlands powerhouse”. ‘Newquay airport now provides daily flights to London and a few of our clients have been able to change their working routines to maximise their time here. These days, a sporting family really can live the dream in Cornwall!’
With ‘the dream’ doubtless in mind, Knight Frank recently brought the ‘grand, but not ostentatious’ Tremeer, near the pretty village of St Tudy between Bodmin Moor and the north Cornwall coast, to the market at a guide price of £2.75m. Listed Grade II, the imposing three-storey house, which, according to English Heritage, has ‘16th-century origins with records dating from the 1430s’, has long been one of the finest family houses in the county.
The first blood transfusion in medical history is said to have taken place in the basement of Tremeer in 1667. The house was partly altered in the early 17th century and ‘rebuilt in 1798 for a Dr Reed’, then extended in the Arts-and-Crafts style for the Hext family in 1899. The magnificent five-acre garden immediately surrounding the house was originally laid out in 1945 by Maj- Gen E. G. W. Harrison, encouraged by Walter Magor of nearby Lamellen.
Both were distinguished collectors and propagators of rhododendrons and azaleas and the garden at Tremeer boasts a famous bed of azaleas, some of which are among the original ‘Wilson 50’, so-called because they were selected by Ernest H. Wilson in 1919 from the garden of Akashi in Kurume, Japan. The gracious main house has ample living space, including three reception rooms, a large kitchen, a master suite and two guest suites, six further bedrooms and two bathrooms; there is also a two-bedroom lodge.
With a total of 13.3 acres of land, a former coach house, outbuildings and stabling, plus a tennis court and a heated swimming pool discreetly hidden in the walled garden, there’s plenty to keep even the most hyperactive family members or guests busy outside from dawn ’til dusk.
Strategically located halfway between the north and south coasts, Truro is the beating heart of Cornwall—and not just its proud cathedral city, but its only city. All the main schools are based here, including the highly rated Polwhele House prep school. Country-loving families with children of school age tend to target the villages and countryside within easy reach of Truro, where Knight Frank are selling the charming, Grade II-listed Trevella at Trispen, 4.7 miles from Truro and 11 miles from Newquay, with a guide price of £2.6m.
Built in the late 1700s, the impressive, mainly Georgian house, together with its adjoining three-bedroom cottage, has been painstakingly restored and renovated over the past 10 years. Set in almost 14 acres of mature gardens, woodland, pasture and orchards, Trevella has 5,765sq ft of accommodation, including entrance and inner halls, three main reception rooms, an orangery, a kitchen/breakfast room, master and guest suites, five further bedrooms and two bath/shower rooms.
Meanwhile, Jackson-Stops & Staff (01872 261160) complete the family picture with two distinguished houses: the Victorian Frere House in Kenwyn Church Road, Truro, for sale at a guide price of £1.5m, and the classic Georgian Lamerton Manor in the popular hamlet of Idless, on the outskirts of the city, on offer at a guide price of £1.35m.
Frere House is a handsome, six-bedroom former vicarage with four acres of private grounds, a mile from the city centre and 1.2 miles from Truro School.
According to its listing, the five-bedroom Lamerton Manor, built in 1799, is ‘a largely complete late 18th century house, of which an important feature is the original windows.’