Clifton House is an large Victorian country home and it was the substantial space provided by its rooms and grounds that drew Crispian and Denise Strachan there.
They moved to the house, in Clifton near Morpeth, in 1998 to bring up their four children: “They’ve all now flown the nest and gone around the world,” said Crispian.
“We’re downsizing – we will decide where we’ll move to once we’ve sold here. It’s perfectly possible we will stay in the area. Having been here for 16 years we have a lot of life in the area and friends here, which is very nice.
“We were first attracted by the sheer space and grace of the house, there was space for the children to play in.
“They could go all the way down to the bottom of the meadow. We fitted up a zip wire between two trees down there, a play frame and what have you and it’s just a huge space to breathe.”
Clifton House was built in 1865, explained Crispian: “It was built by Mr Slater, the farmer at Clifton Farm at that time. He obviously wanted a grander farmhouse than the rather older construction which is still behind us and which is someone else’s family home. Therefore, he bought the plans from a farmer at Ponteland who had built a similar house and he built this one here in rather nicer style.
“The outbuildings are from the working farm because at the time he would have kept a horse and cart and would have wanted an office, wash shed, cart sheds all built around the farmyard. All now in use, every single bit of them.”
The house impresses from the outset, with a stunning entrance bounded by stone pillars and walls and double gates leading to the open courtyard and parking area.
Inside it has elegant reception rooms which have beautiful period features such as solid plaster work, ceiling roses and original doors.
Some of the old fireplaces were removed by the Strachans to eliminate draughts but fireplaces remain in the lounge and dining room where the couple burn logs.
Apart from putting in double glazing, central heating and solar panels, they have done little else in the way of improvements.
“There was nothing much else we needed to do to the house, it was eminently liveable and still is,” said Crispian. A welcoming reception hall leads to the drawing room, dining room and study, while there is a cellar, utility, butler’s pantry and ground-floor shower room. The large kitchen is a favourite hangout. “We live in the kitchen a lot of the time, it has space and light, but we like every part of the house. The lounge is great for family gatherings, the bedrooms are a good size, we fitted an en-suite to our own bedroom which has made it much more comfortable and convenient.”
The landscaped gardens are a feature of the house and, along with a meadow, cover just over one-and-a-half acres. Crispian said: “It’s a pleasure to walk in the gardens, whether it’s the walled garden which has its original box hedging or in the more formal parts at the front.
“The meadow is an open field between the gardens and the stream at the bottom of the hill. It has to be preserved because it’s actually a medieval broad furrow with strips about 10-12ft wide probably dating back to the 1300s.”
Despite the grandeur of the home, it is conveniently placed for amenities.
“We go Morpeth most of the time for shopping and the occasional trip to Newcastle. On occasions we shop in Alnwick and we’ve got one or two favourite shops in Hexham – the county is brilliantly supplied with good shops and good restaurants and we travel around when we need to.”
- Clifton House, Clifton, Morpeth, is for sale at £850,000 through Sanderson Young, tel: 0191 223 3500.