“A rectory is regarded as the quintessential English country house with strong architecture and a prominent village position” says Ben Horne of Middleton Advisors. “The rectory is usually set perfectly in the middle of an acre or two with the village church either as a backdrop or in the foreground. Find a good village in the English countryside and there will certainly be a pretty old rectory there somewhere.
What defines them and makes them special is the role they have played and the traditional importance attached to the building and its occupants; it is this that has resulted in beautiful country residences at the heart of our lovely villages with large gardens and paddocks behind them. For example, ‘The Old Rectory’ in North Perrot, Somerset is a Grade II Listed Georgian house currently available with a Guide price of £1.35m. The house sits perfectly in the village, but has nearly three and a half acres surrounding it. Similarly, ‘The Old Rectory’ at Hannington in Hampshire, again Grade II Listed and Georgian, lies within nearly 14 acres on the edge of one of the highest and prettiest villages in Hampshire; currently on the market with a guide price of £3.5m.
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.”