“Every good country village with a church has an Old Rectory, an Old Vicarage or an Old Parsonage.” says Ben Horne of Middleton Advisors. “They are idyllic and the archetypal village house, so often what people living in cities think of when describing the perfect country house. Ask an eight year old to draw a house and they’ll probably produce an image of a Georgian Old Rectory!”
“They’re special often because of their position, occupying the best spot in the village which combines access into the village centre with privacy from neighbours. There will be few other houses ‘in’ the village but with paddocks and fields included. They also regularly have indicators of their history, priest holes and tunnels connecting them with churches are common.
Demand is high, we all want to live in the best village house and the rectory is so often it. But old houses need running and maintaining, often enforced by their English Heritage listing. They can be expensive to heat, having been designed for an era where log fires and shutters were the method of keeping the house warm. And the local planning authorities charged with preserving the heritage of grade II listed buildings rarely allow modern windows to be fitted.”
Buying an English Rectory
“Rarely do buyers specify an ‘old rectory’ when discussing their search criteria, however many lean towards period properties for their attractive appearance and build quality, of which the old rectories provide perfect examples, along with old vicarages.
There are downsides, including the general age of these properties, which, if neglected over time, can result in hidden decay requiring considerable investment further down the line. As with anything, this can be avoided by doing some research before buying and by retaining a good surveyor with experience in dealing with such period properties. Running costs will invariably be higher than in a contemporary property.
Period houses were built to have open fires roaring throughout the day, heating the structure and then emanating warmth throughout the building and leaking it through windows and roofs. Nowadays, we prefer central heating on a timer, but the warmth still escapes through original uneven window panes and porous wall material. As most rectories are listed buildings, any alterations and extensions will be subject to attaining the required planning and building consents.”