Is there a doctor in the house? Not any more, there isn’t, but for two centuries four generations of doctors cared for the wellbeing of the people of Burford from Riverside House and its cottages.
Now, for the first time in more than 180 years, the seven bedroom house is up for sale, along with three neighbouring properties and outbuildings, with a guide price of £2.3m.
The Grade II* listed Riverside House was built in the late 1700s, and became the residence and practice of Dr Thomas Cheatle in 1832.
Four generations of Cheatles practised medicine from Riverside House and Wysdom Cottage, to which the practice relocated after the Second World War, while the family continued to live at Riverside House.
The GP’s surgery finally relocated to modern premises in the mid-1980s, while Riverside House remained something of a living museum, with specimens and medical implements in the consulting room, bottles of medicine and ointments in the dispensary, and a wooden patients’ bench seat in the waiting room, which was later converted into a larder.
Riverside House is a fine Georgian town house. Fronting onto Lower High Street, and accessed through Grade II listed gate piers, the property is set in over one-and-a-half acres of grounds bounded by the River Windrush and the church of St John the Baptist Church, the spire of which forms a backdrop to the gardens.
The principal rooms are entered through a reception hall, from which rises the main staircase. The sitting room and dining room, on the ground floor, boast many period features, including Gothic style windows, bay windows, anthemion friezes, marble fireplaces, picture rails and fielded panel doors.
The former doctor’s surgery to the rear of the house has not been occupied for a number of years, and would benefit from refurbishment and modernisation.
Five good-sized bedrooms, along with a drawing room, are located on the first floor, with two further bedrooms on the second floor. These are the servant’s quarters, and the census shows that there were four resident servants, a groom and a page at the property in 1871.
Adjoining Riverside House is Archway Cottage, a charming Grade II listed mid terrace house, which partly extends over the archway after which it is named.
The cottage was built in the 16th century, probably in a symmetrical design with the archway in the centre of the frontage. The northern wing was almost certainly demolished to make way for the rear of the larger Riverside House – the part later to become the doctor’s surgery.
The accommodation is arranged over three floors, with a sitting room and dining room on the ground floor, two bedrooms, a bathroom, and an extensive attic room. To the rear is a small courtyard garden and store, while under the archway is a cobbled alley, into which are worn grooves made by the iron wheels of pony carts.
During the 19th century the cottage operated as The King’s Head inn.
Facing the main entrance to Riverside House across a cobbled courtyard is Wysdom Cottage, also known as Simon Wysdom’s House after the 16th century benefactor and founder of the famous Burford Grammar School in 1571.
The property was originally a row of medieval or Tudor almshouses – which makes the property, at least in part, the oldest secular building in the town. A sixteenth century plaque records Wysdom’s reconstruction of the row in 1576 and his gift of it to Burford Grammar School in 1577.
It reads: “Symon Wysdom Alderman the first founder of the Schole in Burford gave these tenemenes Wythe the other to the same schole in an.1576 all laude and prays be given to God therefore Amen.”
The Grade II* listed cottage is situated adjacent to Burford’s famous Tudor bridge, and contains a wealth of period features. It has three reception rooms, a study, kitchen and four bedrooms. To the rear is a courtyard garden bounding the river.
Adjoining Wysdom Cottage at right angles is Rose Cottage, which is now in a dilapidated state, but provides potential for refurbishment. There is a single ground floor reception room with a substantial fireplace and a bedroom above. An attic room is not currently accessible.
It is believed that Rose Cottage once provided accommodation for the owner of a tannery, which stood on what is now the grass tennis court of Riverside House.
The Windrush was channeled to service the tannery, and the land between the cut and the natural course of the river now forms an island garden, which can be reached via a bridge or rowboat, one of the benefits the new owner will posses, along with the fishing rights on both banks.
At the eastern end of the gardens, backing on to the churchyard wall, is a grade II listed Coach House.
The attractive range includes former stables and a first floor apple store. The buildings are now used as garaging, with secondary vehicular access to Riverside House from Lawrence Lane. There is potential to convert the buildings for residential use, subject to planning permission.
Riverside House, the cottages and the Coach House are being sold as a whole by Moore Allen & Innocent of Cirencester. Viewing is strictly by appointment only. For more information, or to arrange a viewing, call 01285 648115.