Ideal for a rural work/life balance
Manor Farmhouse, Goulceby offers unique opportunities for a family and entrepreneurial lifestyle in the heart of the Lincolnshire Wolds.
Owners, Joseph and Hilary Byrne have lived with their four children at the property for sixteen and a half years. With spacious accommodation of six bedrooms, several reception and family rooms as well as extensive outbuildings all set within 10.25 acres, Manor Farmhouse has been their dream home.
“I fell in love with it straight away,” said Hilary, “especially the position in the rolling countryside of the Lincolnshire Wolds. I loved the dimensions of the house, with its large, airy rooms and high ceilings; also the fantastic views from every window. We love period houses and it was great that the house contained so many untouched, original features which could be restored and we discovered more as work progressed such as the boarded up inglenook fireplace.
“My husband, Joe, was not quite as blown away. He thought it was sad and neglected. He is the practical one and the house needed a lot of work doing to it, well, near enough full renovation, and he knew that he would be the one having to do most of the work!”
The largest proportion of the property dates from the 18th and 19th centuries but during their renovations the Byrnes found evidence that the original property was just the kitchen with one room above, as there is a hatch to one of the rooms upstairs.
“This could be as early as medieval when animals were kept downstairs and the occupiers lived upstairs. The property was extended in Georgian times and had bay windows added in Victorian times. There are several different types of brick on the house which makes us think this. It is only speculation though, as we have not done a full history.”
The previous owner used Manor Farmhouse as an equestrian property, breeding and selling horses and certainly the five stables and tack room which count amongst the outbuildings as well as the pasture land could easily accommodate livestock again.
The Byrnes purchased Manor Farmhouse specifically to relocate to a peaceful rural setting.
Hilary said: “We love period properties and had worked on two before we bought this one. We lived on a main road and, as I was brought up in the countryside, it just never felt like being in the country, so the setting of this house was perfect for us.”
Joe also wanted to run his furniture-making business from home so the outbuildings were ideal for this.
The house required full renovation which brought its own challenges while bringing up four children and running a business. The whole of the roof was redone, taking off the original tiles, relining and replacing the original tiles. All the chimney stacks were rebuilt. The house was covered in a grey concrete render, which was removed and replaced with a far more sympathetic lime render.
Every room in the house needed extensive work such as stripping the walls of wallpaper, re-plastering with lime plaster and painting as well as re-wiring. All the ceilings needed re-plastering and original style coving was added. The floors were all taken up, then a damp proof course put in and then re-laid. Some of the floors upstairs had original wide floorboards, which could be sanded and waxed once the carpets were taken up. Original wooden doors were also stripped and waxed.
The upstairs bathroom was completely remodelled and a second bathroom installed downstairs, where once a single toilet had been. An incongruous 1970s style brick conservatory with a corrugated plastic roof was removed and rebuilt to be more in keeping with the house. Where there were aluminium windows in the house these were replaced with wooden Yorkshire sliders.
Manor Farmhouse has been an idyllic location in which to raise a family and now offers spacious accommodation comprising a ground floor main central entrance and entrance hall, drawing room, dining or sitting room, farmhouse dining kitchen, study, music room, boot room, bathroom and guest bedroom suite. From the lounge the staircase leads to a first floor landing giving access to four further double bedrooms, a single bedroom and a family bathroom. Throughout there are fireplaces and features original to the house.
Externally, the outbuildings were in a bad state of repair.
“We managed to secure planning permission for a holiday let in one of the outbuildings so this was completely structurally rebuilt and reroofed. The farm next door was not separated at the time and we often used to get cows roaming around in the garden. A new farm building was put up which separated the farmyard from the farmhouse. There was no drive, it was just mud! I remember getting ready for work and then having to put my wellies on to put my children in their baby seats to take them to the nursery, wading through thick mud. It was a nightmare trying to keep clean before I went to work!”
The two wooden outbuildings weren’t in too bad a state of repair, so Joe concreted the floor of one of them and used that as his ‘Workshop in the Wolds’ for his furniture business. The other one he made into a pub and games room which has been fantastic for entertaining family and friends.
There have been plenty of other challenges. “When we moved in we already had two children, aged 8 and 4 and I was seven months pregnant with twins, so the timing was dreadful!” said Hilary.
“A few days after we moved in, we got the house sprayed for woodworm and dry rot, so we weren’t allowed in the house. We stayed in a camper van in the front driveway for three days and nights, which was no joke as being pregnant with twins, I was enormous and could hardly move.
“My twins were six weeks early and I always maintain that my husband brought them on early, as one day, he decided to take down the kitchen ceiling. That evening my waters broke!
“When my husband was doing the kitchen, which meant redoing every surface, floor, walls, ceiling as well as fitting in all the appliances and units, I was without a kitchen for quite a while. Trying to bring up four young children without a kitchen is very difficult.”
Manor Farmhouse is set in the middle of the Wolds, close to the Red Hill Reserve with views across the landscape from nearly every window and some wonderful walks close by. The property is set just outside the village which has its own pub and village shop but there is a strong sense of community, especially in supporting the church. On Good Friday, there is a service at the top of Red Hill which is directly opposite Manor Farmhouse and Joe and Hilary have provided tea and homemade cakes afterwards, with all proceeds going to either the church or a local charity.
The property is still the family’s dream home, with its unique feeling of space. There is the farmhouse kitchen, which is the heart of the Byrne family’s daily life. There are fantastic views across the grounds and land in what has been an idyllic setting in which to bring up their children.
“We have fantastic memories of the good as well as the more difficult times while we were renovating the house but now we would like to move into a smaller property in the local area while our twins finish their education. Once they go to university, we intend to move to France, where we already own a house.”