Victorian vicarage with charm
The Old Vicarage is a handsome family home tucked away in a secluded village near Louth.
Situated in a mature and secluded setting within stunning tree-lined grounds on the outskirts of Legbourne village, The Old Vicarage is an elegant and characterful family home which combines a rich history with modern day living.
Owners Richard and Veanndra Ellis moved here three years ago with their two young daughters and have enjoyed creating an idyllic country home, while embracing the benefits of rural life.
“We moved in 11 days before Christmas in 2020. The weather wasn’t great but it made it all the more cosy when the fires were roaring and the old Aga was in full force.
“The previous kindly owner left us two Christmas mugs and a bottle of champagne to celebrate our first night.
“We didn’t know much about Legbourne before we moved here, but we have fallen in love with the village. It has a great community feel with lots of local events at the village hall and church and we have been made to feel very welcome.
“The first time we came to view the house, we were amazed by what we were greeted with at the end of the drive and we just knew that this was the perfect property for us and our family,” explains Richard, who shares the family home with two cats, four kittens, sheepdog Ted and Betty the sheep, together with 10 rescue chickens, resident barn owl, four red kites, rabbits and a family of muntjac deer. “For such a grand house, it felt homely immediately, even though it needed some refurbishment.”
Constructed in 1862 for the Reverend John Overton and designed by local architects Rogers & Marsden of Louth, the vicarage has lost none of its charm and appeal over the years. Having been lovingly upgraded, it still offers spacious and elegant rooms with extensive accommodation of superb proportions, including five/six bedrooms and three first floor bathrooms with a stunning principal Art Deco style family bathroom, together with four reception rooms, breakfast-kitchen pantry utility room and studio/bedroom.
Constructed in a mellow blonde brick with multi-pane sash windows, the original building was extended sympathetically in the late 1800s to the west, creating the superb façade which faces the south lawn.
Originally built as a “parsonage house and offices” in connection with the local Church of All Saints, the house was extended sometime between 1862 and 1889.
Since moving in, the Ellis family has embraced and overseen the sympathetic refurbishment works, which have included removing walls and enlarging the kitchen to create an open plan traditional kitchen and breakfast area and butler’s pantry painted in Farrow & Ball traditional shades.
Upstairs, the master suite has also seen a full refurbishment while throughout the house new handmade original plaster cornices, ceiling roses, timber skirtings and architraves have been created to replicate the original ones removed.
“Although the house is over 160 years old, it has been very well cared for and impeccably updated over its many years. It still retains its historic charm and many traditional features but with all the modern conveniences and is still in keeping with its ancestry.
“What I love about this house is that there are so many features and it’s great to watch the seasons change and views constantly evolving out of every window.
“The overall feeling of the house, both inside and out, is homely and happy and we love the way that every room and outdoor space has a usable function in our day-to-day life. Our daughters have learnt the responsibility of looking after and caring for the animals daily, planting and growing food in the garden and polytunnel, caring for the plants and trees that give us the food that we enjoy, while growing up in a very safe and secure village where they can venture out independently, knowing that they are being looked out for.
“Being custodians of such a magnificent country home gives us such a sense of pride and we will certainly miss it being our family home.”
The family describe the ambience inside as one of grandeur, but in a “homely and traditional way with character and class”.
“The décor is very traditional with some contemporary and classic features and the house comes alive when entertaining. At Christmas, the house is full of family and friends, we enjoy drinks around the large open fires in the drawing room before walking to the local church for Midnight Mass.
“In the summer, we enjoy entertaining in the courtyard and having friendly tennis tournaments and playing croquet on the South Lawn.
“The dining room is very quirky and when we first moved in, we agreed to redecorate to a more neutral theme as soon as we could. However, after hosting many dinner parties in this amazing room, the interior and décor is such a talking point that we would now never dream of changing it.
“It’s such a unique room with the original lectern from 1880 where we encourage the children to tell their Christmas cracker jokes and it has been known that a few, slightly merry end of night speeches have been made from here!
“Our lasting memories of The Old Vicarage will always be our family Christmas: the smell of turkey cooking in the Aga fills the kitchen, the sound of our children, nieces and nephews playing hide and seek, with carols on the radio piping through the many speakers in each room and cosying up in front of the fire to play Christmas games.”
Versatile outside space
On the north side of the house, there is a walled courtyard which includes a former stable and coach house with hayloft. Behind this, the vendors have gained planning permission to erect an impressive oak framed triple garage with gym and office above overlooking the orchard, which contains 20 different species of apple trees, pear trees, plums and cherries.
“One of the garden’s best features is the secluded and private walled courtyard. It’s such a suntrap and on sunny days you can feel like you’re sat in the South of France, gazing up at the old coach house.
“The tennis court is also an amazing part of the garden, and since moving to the property we have all enjoyed playing after work and organising weekend tournaments with friends and family.
“It’s so lovely to watch our daughters play for hours on end. The weather never puts us off and we have even been known to play a few games in our bobble hats and gilets on a winter’s afternoon!”
In addition, there is also planning permission for two three-bedroom traditional cottages by separate negotiation.
“We have gained planning permission in a very secluded part of the grounds at the entrance to the drive far away from the main house. We designed them to complement the Old Vicarage and Coach House in the same brick and slate tile as an additional cart shed design, traditionally found at the entrance to most Lincolnshire country estates. “These cottages could be retained and let as residential homes or holiday lets to create additional income, or sold off at a profit. Equally they would suit [as] additional space for family members or guests.
“However, since we purchased the original gatehouse lodge 18 months ago, our plans have changed and due to remote working, we are now able to travel much more and work from any location, so our next adventure as a family will be to build a property close by and spend as much time travelling during the school holidays.”
Richard says he believes the perfect owner for this home is someone who will genuinely appreciate its beauty.
“As the previous owner said to us: ‘One never really owns a house like this; we just love it, improve it and eventually move on to let someone else take it to the next stage’. We have made a significant investment in the Old Vicarage, which we hope the new owners will treasure over the years to come, just like we have.
“A house like this will outlive all of us and will hopefully still be standing in another 160 years to come.”