Disappointment at a property auction turned to joy for Paul Gracey and his family when he drove past a better prospect on the way home.
“It was a bit of a fluke,” recalls Paul.
“We went for another property but that didn’t tick all the boxes on the night.
“We found this place coming back from that auction and stopped and had a look at it.
“It caught my eye and we just kept going back to it.”
It was Naunton Court in Naunton Beauchamp, near Pershore, Worcestershire.
An old timber framed house that dated back to 1600, it clearly needed work but was packed with potential.
“It had a lovely stone bay on the back, masses of character and loads of space inside.”
Paul knows a thing or two about building as he is a brickwork contractor and supplies bricklayers for the major housing developers.
However, as well as being Grade II listed, there were parts of Naunton Court that were built not from brick but from wattle and daub in between the timber framing.
“This was a bit of a bespoke one, it was specialist stuff.
“There were principles I was familiar with from being in the building trade, but there things like the stone mullion bay window where we were in the hands of the tradesman we had – and they were absolutely excellent.”
In spite of working in a business creating new homes, Paul says that, personally, he is drawn to the character properties.
“We did up an old brick built cottage before this. I think older properties have more about them.”
He and his partner, Lorraine, and their two children, Mathilda and Harvie, lived in a mobile home on site for the 10 months while Naunton Court was transformed.
“We hit it really hard and completely refurbished it. We had a company who came in and repaired all the timber frame. We had it completely rewired, new central heating putting in and had all the windows restored with the original glass.
“My father is in the building industry as well and as we were flat out at work, he project managed it.”
A coat of arms on the stone bay at the back of the house reveals the 400 year old property to have been home to members of the Lyttelton family, who were ancient county notables
“Apparently Humphrey Lyttelton, the jazz player, lived here so the story goes,” says Paul.
More evidence of its heritage has been carefully preserved with areas of wattle and daub left exposed beneath clear covers on the landing and in one of the bedrooms.
Offering nearly 6,000 square foot of space, Paul decided they didn’t need to extend it.
“It is a big chunk of a building,” he says.
“It works really well as a family home. You can live on the ground floor and first floor and when people come to visit, open up the top floor.”
One of the joys for the family has been the amount of space they have had to enjoy, both indoors and outside.
At the moment it sits in just over 49 acres of land (although the land and some of the outbuildings can be bought as separate lots when the house is sold).
“We are enveloped in land. We managed to pick up the barns next door and don’t have any neighbours,” he says.
“If we want to hit a golf ball across the fields we can. I do a bit of shooting so I can just get the clay pigeon out and do that. The kids have got a buggy and a quad bike so they can ride around on those.”
In spite of having created beautiful home at Naunton Court, Paul says that after eight years they are looking to move on.
“We get itchy feet, so we thought ‘let’s have a look and see if we can find a property to improve’.”
He says they already have their eye on a place but won’t be living on site.
“I don’t think we will do the mobile home again.
“The children are up for an adventure so long as they are not too far from their friends and we promised them they wouldn’t be.”
Naunton Court is an historic home with striking black and white elevations.
To the south east is an impressive stone bay that covers two floors.
An electronically gated driveway leads from the lane down the gravel drive to the house.
Inside the reception hall has a flagstone floor and a guest cloakroom.
The impressive drawing room features the large stone bay window overlooking the gardens with the Cotswolds in the distance.
It has the original floorboards and a fireplace with stone surround
A sitting room has a flagstone floor and large inglenook fireplace with stone surround, quarry tiled hearth and log burner.
The dining room features another inglenook fireplace with log burner and a flagstone hearth. This and the sitting room have doors to the gardens.
In the kitchen there are painted wall and floor mounted units with polished black granite tops. There is a double oven Aga and an electric companion oven to the side, a Belfast sink and flagstone floors.
A utility offers more units and space and plumbing for a washing machine and tumble dryer.
At the front of the house is a study with traditional panelling and exposed floor boards.
On the first floor there are five bedrooms off the long landing.
The master suite has a panelled wall to the one side and a stone bay window to the other. It is served by a dressing room with panelling and a black tiled floor. The en suite has a modern suite with a roll top bath and wood panelling to the walls.
Two further bedrooms have en suites; both with showers and one with a roll top and claw foot bath. Bedroom four has stairs to the outside which provides separate access, and exposed timber frame beams.
Bedroom five has a wooden floor.
On the second floor there are three more good-sized bedrooms, an en suite with bath and an additional family bathroom.
Large cellars hold the solar heating system for the water. They have been refurbished and provide good storage.
A block built Coach House provides a secure garage and car ports.
Above it there is a studio room reached via external stairs.
A selection of garden rooms and stores have been converted from traditional outbuildings.
There is a large patio to the back of the property and at the end of the garden there is a gazebo.
The gardens are laid to lawn and border fields.
To the front are a variety of mature trees and a level lawn which borders the long sweeping gravel drive with central island.
If sold as part of lot one – which includes the main house – the land totals 28.45 acres.
Lot two includes a courtyard of traditional red brick barns which have planning permission to be converted to holiday lets.
In addition there are modern and Dutch barns.
The southern barns have been converted for stabling and they lead out at the rear to the fields. This is pasture and extends to 10.51 acres.
Lot three includes the orchard – a block of land of just under 9.19 acres that is situated on the opposite side of the lane.
Naunton Court is located in East Worcestershire, not far from the Warwickshire border.
It is close to The Lenches which is famous for its blossom trails during the spring.
The market town of Pershore has shops, pubs, restaurants and leisure centre with new pool. The area is also renowned for its wide range of good schools
For commuters, trains run from Pershore and Cheltenham to London and Birmingham, and the M5 is easily accessed.
AGENT: Knight Frank
TEL: 001905 723438,
GUIDE PRICE: £2,400,000, Lot 1 £1,900,000, Lot 2 £400,000, Lot 3 £100,000