By John Grainger, Property editor
Vicarages, in all their forms, carry a lot of baggage.
The very word conjures up images of Agatha Christie whodunnits, with ‘more-tea-vicar?’ gentility concealing something altogether more dastardly.
Arguably England’s most famous rectory, Borley, was said to be Britain’s most haunted building until it was demolished in the 1930s.
Parsonages, by contrast, suggest nothing more sinister than the Brontë sisters, who, famously, lived in one.
The reality, of course, has little to do with the stereotypes. Vicarages are in fact some of Middle England’s finest and most desirable houses. Often Victorian or Edwardian, they tend to be large and spacious, with high ceilings and beautiful gardens: a home fit for the most godly pillar of the community. The following four properties are all former vicarages and are all currently for sale in our area.
The Old Vicarage at Killinghall (left) is a typical, albeit high-end, example of the genre. The five-bedroom house is stone-built, elegant and Victorian, and doesn’t lack for period features, such as the mullioned windows, stone porch and the full-height galleried hall, yet it has also been given some contemporary features, such as its modern kitchen.
Outside, there is an adjoining double garage and large lawned gardens with wooded boundaries.
A less typical example is the Old Parsonage (below), on the fringe of the villages of Helperby and Brafferton, which was built in the Arts and Crafts style in 1925, and served as the village vicarage from 1957 to 1996.
Extended and upgraded by the current owners, it has six bedrooms, four reception rooms and three bathrooms, one of which has views to the White Horse at Kilburn.
Its gardens amount to about an acre, a third of which consists of a productive orchard. There are also several outbuildings, currently used as storage, garaging and a workshop, but which offer conversion possibilities.
At the top end of Nidderdale, Stonebeck House (below) was named in 2008 one of the North’s top ten parsonages by Country Life magazine.
It made the grade because of its breathtaking views towards Gouthwaite Reservoir and its wealth of original features, such as double sash windows, original fireplaces, fine hanging staircase and half-galleried landing.
It has six bedrooms and gardens on all four sides, but was formerly split into two parts, so would benefit from some re-arrangement. There is also a garage block with planning permission to convert to a one-bedroom cottage.
Finally, a short distance down the dale at Lofthouse is the Old Vicarage (main pic), which has been split into two semi-detached homes, one of which, the East Wing, is for sale.
Refurbished by the current owners, it has four bedrooms, two reception rooms, cellars, study and sunroom. Outside, there is a series of outbuildings, including garage, detached barn, potting shed and garden store, as well as a paddock of about 1.8 acres, an orchard and vegetable patch.
It has gardens on three sides and, like Stonebeck House, has beautiful views towards Gouthwaite Reservoir.