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Featured in the July 2019 issue

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If you are looking for a heritage property which will encapsulate your dream of a spacious and elegant family home, make viewing The Old Rectory in Branston a priority.

The current owners, Mr and Mrs Michael Rennie have lived at the property for seventeen years and have seen themselves very much custodians of this Grade II listed home in the heart of the village.

“Our first impressions from the gravelled driveway was what a beautiful house this is from the exterior and in a great location,” said Michael, “but inside was tired and outdated; plenty of Seventies décor but we also saw immense potential as a family home.”

The late 18th century, stone-built Rectory which fronts the property evolved from an historic church cottage which now forms the rear of the house. Records show that the cottage stood on Church Hill as early as the 16th century and it was the Rev Peregrine Curtois, then vicar of All Saints’ Church, Branston next door to the property, who improved the rectory house in 1765.

Until the 1960s the rectory was owned by the Diocese but following a fire that ravaged the Saxon nave of All Saints’ Church on Christmas Day 1962, the property was sold partly to fund repairs.

As well as its potential as a home for the Rennies’ growing family, The Old Rectory’s location in one of Lincoln’s most sought after villages was also important.

“We were relocating to Lincolnshire with work but still needed access to central London by train. With a toddler and expecting a baby we wanted a location in a thriving village with amenities and schools you can walk to. Branston still provides all of those benefits and more as well as being so close to Lincoln and all the facilities the city offers.”

The Rennies lead busy lives but have invested time and energy in refurbishing The Old Rectory to complement 21st century lifestyles.

The house has been redecorated throughout and has been fitted with a new, efficient central heating system. Two new bathrooms were fitted and a large family kitchen/living space has been created, ideal for entertaining, by removing internal walls. This is fitted with a bespoke hand-built kitchen by Hill Farm Furniture. A new addition to the property has been an architect designed inside/outside morning or garden room which opens onto part of the 0.6 acre grounds and gardens.

The Old Rectory offers accommodation over three floors which includes on the ground floor a front entrance hall, three vault cellar, drawing room, sitting room, music room/snug, living/dining kitchen and morning room as well as a laundry room and toilet. On the first floor the front and central landings lead to three well-proportioned bedrooms with Jack ‘n’ Jill access to the family bathroom. The large master bedroom with en-suite bathroom is also located on this floor. The further staircase leads to the second floor landing study/nursery bedroom and two further large bedrooms.

For a property located in the heart of the historic village centre, The Old Rectory offers accessibility to all amenities as well as privacy and security within mature walled gardens. Electric automated gates are fitted to the drive and lead to a detached garage. The wall enclosed rear garden has a southerly aspect while the large kitchen garden to the north offers great scope for further landscaping. The church is a charming backdrop to some views from the garden. The Rennies have created seating areas and a patio, as well as repairing an original well in the garden. The original village cock fighting pit has made a great children’s play area. Outbuildings have been reroofed including the large stone featured engine shed, which has potential for a variety of family uses.

“There have been challenges to owning a property like this,” continued Michael. “As with any listed period property it requires ongoing maintenance. As owners we are custodians of a building that has stood on this spot for more than 400 years. We have tried to sympathetically look after the house and make it relevant for contemporary life. No doubt any future owners will leave their own mark and the Old Rectory will continue to evolve in future generations. These considerations have been far outweighed by the pleasure of living here with space for a large family and accommodating our busy lives. We have especially loved the secluded gardens, central village location and being close to Lincoln.”

With the flexibility of the six large bedrooms and the spacious grounds, the Rennies have plenty of memories of family parties and hosting their extended family. “We have utilised the three distinct areas in the garden; one for kids with large lawn and wooded area with treehouses and dens, one overlooking the church to the south for entertaining and a utilitarian kitchen garden and detached stone barn. We have found the accommodation so flexible as the family has grown and their and our needs have changed.”

The family will certainly have happy memories of The Old Rectory. Their three children have enjoyed raucous birthday parties with bouncy castles and dens in the garden. There have been family celebrations and Christmases with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

“Branston is a delightful and vibrant community and we have enjoyed many New Year celebrations here with the friends we’ve made in the village.”

Local amenities, many of which are within easy walking distance, include a Co-operative supermarket, cafes, pub, takeaways, doctors’ surgery and a number of retail shops. There are separate Infant and Junior schools which feed into two Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ rated secondary schools (Branston Community Academy and Priory LSST).

Close by are a cricket pitch and pavilion, tennis courts, a skate park and bowling. Within Branston Community Academy there is also a gym and swimming pool open to the public, as well as a community library and the Little Pickles preschool and nursery. The village is served by a bus route, and Lincoln railway station with direct services to London is four miles away.

Once a purchaser has been found for The Old Rectory, Mr and Mrs Rennie will be looking for another renovation project but this time on a smaller scale which they can retire to. “We will miss that buzz of family life in the kitchen, the ducks nesting each year in the garden and the space to ‘do your own thing’ if you choose but we will take with us many, many happy memories of our time here.”

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