The Mail On Sunday

Ever fancied yourself as something of a concert pianist? Well, Weycroft Hall could be the chance you’ve been waiting for to put your virtuoso skills to the test. The property, near Axminster in Devon, comes with its own concert hall – capable of seating an audience of 100 – and even boasts a minstrels’ gallery.

The Grade I listed building, which dates from the early 15th Century, is set in more than 80 acres and is currently used as a religious retreat. The property – built on the site of a fortified Roman camp – comprises the main house, which has seven bedrooms and two bathrooms, plus a three-bedroom annexe, a one-bedroom cottage and a three-bedroom lodge house.

‘The tenancy has come to an end and the family who own it have decided to sell,’ says Oliver Custance Baker, of agents Strutt & Parker in Exeter. ‘It’s been in the same family for generations.’

Weycroft’s stunning great hall is often used for musical events, while wedding receptions can also be held there. ‘And it looks fantastic at Christmas with a Christmas tree and a roaring fire,’ says Oliver.

‘Where else could you get a Grade I listed hall for £800,000?’ asks Oliver. To be listed, a building has to be on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, which means it cannot be extended or altered without special permission from the local authority.

According to Oliver, demand for such properties is surging. ‘I’ve definitely seen a recent spike in interest from purchasers wishing to buy something like Weycroft Hall,’ he says. ‘Often it’s people moving away from the London area looking for a statement house.’

There are a number of other listed buildings on the market around the country, including The Oast, near Tunbridge Wells. The Grade II listed converted oast house has five bedrooms, three of which are en suite, a triple garage with a room above (which has planning permission for dormer windows), a workshop and a 1½-acre orchard.

The 16th Century Pilgrims House is located in the Norfolk village of Bacton, where 63 years ago on this very day, 80 people died when the combination of a spring tide and a ferocious storm caused catastrophic flooding in the area. Locals still live in awe of the North Sea’s ‘hungry waves’.

But Pilgrims House has always stood firm and is now for sale, along with its own mini holiday village, through Howards. ‘Luckily, the sea wall is just 500 yards away. Waves can still come over the top and when a big tide is expected we’ve taken precautions,’ says owner Vincent McCartney. ‘Last year, there was flooding a mile away but it’s never happened here.’

It’s possible that providence may have played a part. The house is named after the pilgrims who flocked to neighbouring Bacton Abbey, which now lies in ruins. The abbey was famous throughout medieval Europe, and even mentioned in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, for containing a piece from the True Cross, on which Jesus was crucified. The piece is said to be buried beneath the abbey’s ruins. Grade II listed Pilgrims House was built as the abbey’s farmhouse.

Vincent, 66, and his wife Margaret, 68, bought the property in the 1980s for £68,000, and they have turned a number of disused farm buildings into holiday cottages. The holiday village, which also contains an indoor swimming pool, is a thriving business that takes about 100 bookings a year.

‘Our family is grown up and we are ready to move on,’ says Vincent. ‘Whoever buys Pilgrims can do what they like with it – keep it as it is, sell it off separately or even create a boutique hotel and spa complex.’

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