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Home of the Week: £1,850,000 Mill House in Dumbleton

The late travel writer and adventurer Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor came back from Greece to this Worcestershire home but never got to enjoy his return, reports Alison Jones.

Home, they say, is where the heart is. It certainly proved true for the great travel writer and adventurer Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor.

In 2011, at the age of 96 and sensing his long life was drawing to a close, cancer and a rapacious appetite for cigarettes having caught up with him, he left Greece where he had a house and travelled back to Dumbleton, Worcestershire.

He and his late wife Joan had inherited Mill House, a country property, in 1994. Joan's brother, the second Lord Monsell, had lived there since 1959.

Leigh Fermor was a charismatic character who, after an academic career hindered by expulsions, decided at 18 to walk the length of Europe - from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople (Istanbul).

He found shelter in everything from barns to monasteries to the homes of the landed gentry en route, learned languages and fell for a Romanian noblewoman.

He wrote of his experiences in the travel books A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and The Water that were published more than 40 and 50 years later.

During the Second World War, he fought in Crete and Greece and led the party that captured the German commander overseeing the Nazi occupation of Crete, General Kreipe.

He was awarded the DSO and the events were featured in a book by his comrade William Stanley Moss - III Met By Moonlight. This was later turned into a film with Dirk Bogarde portraying Leigh Fermor.

Once described as a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene, Leigh Fermor died the day after returning to Dumbleton and is buried next to his wife in the churchyard there.

Mill House was once part of a farm on the Eyres-Monsell Estate that used to cover more than 5,000 acres.

The land centred round Dumbleton Hall, a Georgian property, that was bought from the Holland family in 1875.

Joan's grandfather, Henry Eyres, died on his honeymoon, six months before the birth of his daughter, Caroline.

In 1904, she married Bolton Meredith Monsell, a Conservative politician who was later MP for Evesham and First Lord of the Admiralty in Baldwin's cabinet. He was made Lord Monsell on his retirement.

Mill House was occupied by the land agent. When Dumbleton Hall was sold in 1959 the second Lord Monsell took it as his home for the next 35 years.

The Mill House of today is a spacious and airy property set around a stunning central atrium beneath a glass lantern in the ceiling.

It is beautifully presented and offers a number of versatile rooms.

Sash windows and architraved doorways have been sympathetically restored. Among the new additions are flagstone floors, Cotswold stone fireplaces and a kitchen fitted with Neff appliances.

Reception areas include the dining hall/atrium beneath the galleried landing and glass lantern ceiling.

A peaceful drawing room with stone fireplace looks out across the gardens. The cosy sitting room has an open fire and windows to two sides.

In the expansive kitchen, there is a full range of base and wall units, an oil fired Aga, granite worktops and a built-in larder cupboard.

Appliances include an induction hob, electric oven, microwave, two dishwashers, built-in fridge with ice maker, electric hot drawer and Quooker tap.

There is a central breakfast island with granite top and space for wine storage. A huge dining area features a stone open fireplace and views over the gardens.

Also on the ground floor there is a study and a utility with Bosch washer and dryer, a boot room and cloakroom.

Upstairs there are five bedrooms. The master suite has an en suite bathroom/dressing room with roll top bath, separate shower and double vanity unit with granite top.

Two of the other four double bedrooms have en suite bathrooms. There is a family bathroom, a shower room and a separate cloakroom.

There is also a first floor office/playroom. The second floor has two attic rooms which could be made into studies or playrooms. Cellars beneath the house include a strong room.

Outside there is a garage block with stable, shed, double and single garages.

In the attractive garden there are lawns, shrubs, mature trees (including tulip, mulberry, medlar, walnut, apple, pear, plum and damson).

There is a vegetable patch and herbaceous border plus views over fields to Bredon Hill and the Cotswold escarpment. In addition to Mill House there is The Old Mill, a Grade II listed 18th century red brick building.

It retains much of its original equipment including the iron mill wheel, grindstones and grain shoots. Exterior stone steps led up to the three as yet unconverted floors.

It is surrounded by beautiful grounds with an orchard, mill pond and stream, weir and sluice gate controlling the flow into the River Isbourne. Mill House retains fishing rights along its own stretch of river.

Mill House is on the edge of the village of Dumbleton which has a shop, school, social club, village hall and an hotel. It is within easy reach of Broadway and Cheltenham.

VIEWING INFORMATION

AGENT: Andrew Grant

TEL:   01905 734735

WEB: www.andrew-grant.co.uk

GUIDE PRICE: £1,850,000

 

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