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Words: Sarah Winstanley
Photography: Courtesy of Smiths Gore
Featured in the November 2012 issue

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Set in the heart of Lincoln’s historic Cathedral Quarter, 13 Eastgate was the official residence of the Bishop of Lincoln for over fifty years.

From 1928 to 2011, ten successive Bishops made the property, then known as the ‘Bishop’s House’, their home, sharing the building with offices and meeting spaces for the administrative staff of the Diocese.

But with rising heating and maintenance costs (it costs up to £10,000 a year to heat the building alone), the decision was taken by the Church Commissioners in 2011 to save money and separate the office staff and the Bishop’s home.

So when the current Bishop of Lincoln, the Venerable Christopher Lowson, took up his post in April 2011 he moved into a five-bedroomed house on nearby Nettleham Road with his wife Susan. Since then the Bishop’s House has continued to be used as offices until it was placed on the market last month.

Ed Russell, an associate at estate agent Smiths Gore’s Stamford office which is selling the building, said: “13 Eastgate is set in 1.13 acres of land in the middle of an historic cathedral city. To have such extensive grounds and to be able to sit back and see the North Transept of the Cathedral and the Bishop’s Eye window from the house is truly unique.

“This is an exciting opportunity for someone and one that doesn’t come along very often.”

Since the house was launched on the market last month, the estate agents have been inundated with interest from potential buyers. Mr Russell said: “There has been an awful lot of interest in this property and we are busy conducting block viewings to get through the level of interest.”

The property, which dates back to the late thirteenth century and is listed in Pevsner’s Buildings of England, was previously part of the larger Atherstone Place complex which incorporated 12 Eastgate, now The Deanery, and the medieval lodgings to the rear. A series of alterations were made to the building in the sixteenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Nestled to the north of the Cathedral, the property is accessed through wrought iron gates, down a sweeping driveway and through a pretty, walled garden.

Its commanding front façade, featuring a pair of coped gables with projecting quoins flanked by a recessed centre gable, opens into a house with many impressive features including high ceilings, decorative cornicing, ornate period fireplaces and timber doors and floors.

The interior of the property has been configured to meet the requirements of an official residence with administration, meeting and entertaining areas coupled with family living accommodation.

There is a grand reception hall with a staircase leading up to a galleried landing, a drawing room/study with integral bookcases and an impressive marble fireplace, a large dual aspect sitting room and dining room with an adjacent butler’s pantry.

There is also a large kitchen/breakfast room with Aga, utility room and access to the cellars. Upstairs there are seven double bedrooms (those at the front of the house are bright and airy and enjoy views of the Cathedral and gardens) and three bathrooms. A self-contained flat on the second floor would suit family, guests or domestic help.

At the back of the house an impressive former coach house is currently used for garaging but could be converted into ancillary guest accommodation. There is also a range of domestic and garden outbuildings.

The private gardens cover 1.13 acres, are bounded by mature herbaceous borders and feature an array of mature trees including a horse chestnut tree and a magnificent beech.

A former icehouse is located within a small copse of silver birches and beyond this is the lawn which ends with a selection of cedar, holly, willow and fruit trees.

The new owner of the building will need deep pockets as the Church Commissioners previously estimated it could cost several thousands of pounds to bring it up to date.

Mr Russell added: “The house is in need of some updating and modernising. The new owners would no doubt want to renew all the services and put in new bathrooms and en suites.

“The big challenge is its Grade I listing which means buyers must conform to planning and Listed Building consents.”

There is no doubt that once any modernisation work is completed, the property has the potential to become a fantastic family home in one of the most enviable and coveted locations in the city.

• 13 Eastgate is on the market with Smiths Gore’s Stamford office with a guide price of £800,000. For further information contact Ed Russell on (01780) 484696.

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