Property gallery: Northumberland family home serves up a slice of history

From cosy Christmases around the fire to an “outstanding” wedding, Thirston House has provided the perfect setting for the Reed family

Pat and Brian Reed bought the Georgian country house 19 years ago and spent 12 months painstakingly restoring it. In doing so, the couple have preserved a slice of North East history.

Built in 1820, Thirston House in Felton village, near Morpeth, was designed by North East architect John Dobson. From its majestic formal gardens to its intricate period details, the Grade II Listed property is a fine example of his work.

The couple brought up their two sons in Woolsington, and bought Thirston House after they had left home.

Their youngest son Paul said: “My parents are huge lovers of the outdoors and they were attracted to the property’s fantastic 8.5 acres of land. There are formal walled gardens, paddocks, and lots of beautiful open space.”

The couple also fell in love with the history of the place and invested time and effort in extensively modernising and restoring it.

Pat Reed with son Paul at Thirston House in Northumberland
Pat Reed with son Paul at Thirston House in Northumberland

“It’s a beautiful and historic property. It wasn’t in a state when they bought it, but it wasn’t how it was originally. My parents wanted to restore it to its former glory and spent over a year refurbishing it literally from floor to roof. The ceiling moulds were restored using drawings of the originals to make exact replicas.”

Accommodation includes a reception hall, carved staircase, and drawing room and dining room with fireplaces. A family room provides access to a beautiful Amdega conservatory. The billiard room overlooks the gardens, and there is also a butler’s pantry and fitted kitchen with Aga. This leads to a day room, study, as well as cellars and store rooms.

Paul said: “My parents spend a lot of time in the snug, just off the kitchen. It’s got the original range in there which they restored and it’s lovely and cosy. In the summer they love spending time in the conservatory and morning room.”

The house has stabling, outbuildings, croquet lawn and paddock. It is surrounded by mature woodland, and has an impressive walled garden.

Thirston House
Thirston House

Paul has fond memories of family gatherings at Thirston House with his older brother Mark.

“Christmases are fantastic up there. It’s just magical. Especially when it snows. I have great memories of opening Christmas presents next to the fire in the hallway and building snowmen. It’s fabulous all year around. It has formal lawns and play lawns, so the kids can play football, cricket, and it even has a croquet lawn. I got married there in 2000. We had a huge marquee on the front garden. It was outstanding.”

Upstairs are four double bedrooms, one of which is used as a sitting room. The master bedroom has a dressing room and en suite, and there is also a main bathroom. A rear wing leads to two further bedrooms and bathroom.

Paul also spends a lot of time at the house with his children, twins Polly and Jake, aged 11, and seven-year-old Evie.

He said: “The children love it up there. There’s fantastic climbing trees, and loads of places to make dens and explore. Whilst it is a big house, it doesn’t feel it. The way that it’s been built it’s got a lovely family feel to it. It’s ideal house for those with an interest in horses as it has paddocks and stabling.”

Its location is also a great selling point, according to Paul. “It’s tucked away but still within walking distance of local amenities in Felton village. It’s also only 15 minutes drive to Alnwick or 15 minutes the other way to Morpeth.

“In the village you have the Northumberland Arms and there’s also the Running Fox bakery. I can walk from the house to the pub in about six minutes.”

Businessman Brian, 82, formerly owned Reed Print & Design Ltd. Now both retired, the couple are moving to be closer to their family in Newcastle.

  • Thirston House, Felton, Morpeth, is for sale through Sanderson Young at £3m, tel: 0191 223 3500.

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