A SLICE of Cirencester history with a contemporary twist has been launched onto the property market at £750,000.
Developers have converted the former White Lion Inn in the town’s fashionable Gloucester Street into a luxurious six-bedroom townhouse, where contemporary fixtures and fittings sit alongside features from the original timber-framed building, which dates back 400 years.
Cotswolds-based developers Kemblewick Homes Ltd have worked with the council’s conservation officers to ensure that historic features of the Grade II listed former 17th century coaching inn have been preserved, and in some cases they have been reinstated – like a ‘missing’ staircase, which was hidden in a cupboard, and several fireplaces, covered up during the building’s years as a public house.
“What we’ve done,” said Kemblewick Homes director Jim Krauer, is maintain charm and the elegance of the 18th century facade, whilst providing the modern family with every contemporary convenience.
“We’ve carefully uncovered hidden treasures, like the original staircase from the first and second floor, which was concealed inside a cupboard, and a couple of fireplaces, which we found behind false walls.
“The house comes with a generous garden and off-street parking, both rare commodities for a Cirencester town house.
“Along with Cecily Hill and Coxwell Street, Gloucester Street is one of the best locations in Cirencester – and it’s our 14th renovation dwelling in this street.
“We’ve restored the status we believe this house enjoyed 200 years ago. I’m immensely proud of what we’ve achieved.”
Number 8 Gloucester Street is a two-minute stroll from the heart of fashionable Cirencester, and well within the range of its famous peel of twelve bells.
Through a sturdy early Victorian door, visitors are led into a hallway, which has been reinstated by the developers so that the view on entering the house is uninterrupted to the back wall of the garden.
At either side of the entrance hall is a living room – one formal, one described as ‘the snug’. Each room is dominated by a large open fire with dressed Cotswold stone.
In the snug, explained Jim, the ‘missing’ inglenook fireplace has been reinstated. Although the fireplace had been removed, the original chimneybreast still ran to the roof. Like other groundfloor fireplaces, it’s now been flumed for a wood-burning stove.
Bare oak beams lend these rooms real Olde Worlde character, while the large stone mullion windows are perfect for watching the world go by – and the occupier can do that in comfort thanks to a window seat in each.
At the back of the house is a kitchen and dining area measuring a whopping 31-foot long. The Shaker style kitchen cabinets with black granite worktops are all bespoke, and the floor tiles – common with the flooring throughout the ground floor – are of Egyptian limestone.
“Modern family life revolves around the kitchen and dining area, and what we’ve created here is a great space for the modern family to live in,” said Jim.
Through the French doors at the back of the property is a courtyard garden, which enjoys sun throughout most of the day. It’s rare for a townhouse to have such a large garden, and the garden at 8 Gloucester Street – which is surrounded by 12-foot-tall Cotswold stone walls, softened by architectural planting, has old railway sleepers forming a raised flower bed, and boasts an al fresco dining area – has been designed to be easily maintained.
Up the restored scissored staircase with historic balustrades, are the first four of six bedrooms.
The master bedroom, at the rear of the property, has an adjoining en suite bathroom with bath and separate shower, all with cool, contemporary fittings. Two Victorian windows give a view over the rear garden and the rooftops to Cirencester’s Abbey Grounds beyond.
There are three bedrooms to the front of the property, with stone mullion windows providing a commanding view over Gloucester Street, and a family bathroom.
In one of the bedrooms, the developers found a Georgian iron fireplace behind a wall, and a stone fireplace was found in a wardrobe in another. Those fireplaces have now been restored to their former glory.
On the second floor are a further two bedrooms, each with a dormer window, and a bathroom. Topping off the house, the roof has been retiled using many of the original tiles. The replacements are of matching natural slate.
To the side of the property, through a large set of doors that once would have opened to stables or served as an entrance for the delivery of beer on the back of a dray, is an extremely uncommon feature for a Cirencester townhouse – a piece of off-road parking.
The house is directly opposite the popular Powell’s Church of England Primary School, whose own roots go back to 1714.
The school, which holds an Artsmark Gold Award from the Arts Council and boasts both Eco School and Healthy School status, received ‘outstanding’ and ‘good’ results in its latest Ofsted inspection, making 8 Gloucester Street even more attractive to a family with young children.
Estate agent Mark Halliwell, of Moore Allen & Innocent, said: “We’re delighted to be selling this property. There’s really nothing else like it on the market, and we are anticipating a great deal of interest.”
For more information, or to arrange a viewing, call Mark on 01285 648100 or log on to www.mooreallen.co.uk