Cotswold interiors: Tudor farmhouse in Putley
PUBLISHED: 12:02 21 July 2020 | UPDATED: 12:02 21 July 2020
Terry Green’s beautiful home in the heart of cider-making country originally began life as a Tudor farmhouse
Terry Green moved into his new home Lower Court in Putley, near Ledbury, on May Day six years ago.
“The place was surrounded by apple trees and they were covered in a mass of white blossom,” he says. “I remember looking out over the orchards and feeling as if I were on holiday.”
Terry had bought the Grade 2 listed house because he wanted somewhere with more space for entertaining, and also to focus on his writing. “I’ve had two books published on business, and now I want to write fiction,” he says. Not only that, but Terry’s voice is famous as it’s heard by 250,000 people every day in the UK when “Cashier Number Three, Please” rings out in queues. This came about because he was Joint MD of his former queue management systems company, now sold.
The day he came to view the old house was almost magical, he says. “I had to drive along narrow lanes to reach the village, then the Norman church and duckpond,” he recalls. “Then I rounded a corner and could hardly believe what a beautiful house lay in front of me.”
The L-shaped house had begun as a Tudor farmhouse - “possibly on the site of a medieval manor as we’re so close to the church” - and then had acquired a Georgian extension. Once inside Lower Court, Terry was charmed by the many original features, still carefully preserved, despite the modernisation. “In the Tudor part, there were two exposed wattle and daub walls in the drawing room, plus the bases of a pair of cruck beams,” he says. “There were more cruck beams in the main bedroom, and a welter of beams and an exposed A-frame in the apple loft.”
In the Georgian wing, there were original sash windows and shutters, and throughout the house were Victorian cast iron fireplaces and original floorboards – “albeit a bit of a mix of oak, pine and elm,” he says.
A previous owner had added a garden room and installed a new kitchen and new bathrooms, but Terry could see there was still more to be done.
“For instance, the previous owner had removed some of the doors – I suppose to create an open-plan space – and there was a derelict barn full of rubbish, no garage at all, while the duckpond was green and stagnant – without any ducks!”
However, what really struck him was that the facade of the Georgian wing looked lop-sided. “It had two windows to the right of the front door and no windows to the left - it looked half-blind. At first I thought they’d been blocked up because of the 18th-century window tax, but it seems they had never existed at all!”
Fortunately, the planners and the Listed Building officials agreed, and his carpenter Colin MacArthur of Ledbury was able to install two new Georgian-style windows and shutters to the left of the main door. “It’s really lightened up the dining and reception rooms.”
He also gained permission to build a two-bay garage – called a cart barn on the plans – with a greenhouse attached, and to convert the barn into his Green Room – “a wonderful flexible space I use as an office, music and cinema room, entertainment area and so on.”
As for the missing doors, Terry found them stacked in the barn, so Colin was able to rehang them. “He refitted the original elm door to the snug, refitted the door to the drawing room, making it into a ‘stable door’ and used another old door as a worktop in the utility room,” says Terry. “He also made doors for two of the en-suite bathrooms, plus Georgian-style doors for the dining room. He also carefully restored the original Georgian front door, replacing the missing panels.”
Terry was delighted to find that some of the doors still had their original ironmongery or wooden catches and locks. “There was even an old ledge and brace door to the apple loft – the patina of age lay everywhere across the house,” he says.
However, he added some modern touches, including installing a new boiler and electric consumer unit. He also changed a downstairs WC into a shower room and added two woodburners, some new appliances in the kitchen and roof blinds in the glass garden room, to keep it warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
Terry then turned his attention to the garden where the pond is now alive with ducks – thanks to a fountain to aerate the water – and what had amounted to “just a field” is now beautifully landscaped. “I now have a new stone terrace outside the garden room, a knot garden, lavender beds, fruit bushes, and a wildflower bed among a great many other improvements, including the planting of hundreds of bulbs,” he says. “And I particularly love the new water feature sculpture in the shape of an apple tree, which Oldfield Forge made for me to pay homage to our surroundings.
“After all, Putley has always produced fine quality cider and perry for sale. In fact, its cider was extolled by its churchwardens in The Times, 1787, who said: ‘Every man lives under his own apple tree and his own pear tree. And when we meet, cyder contents us.’
“And It still does,” Terry finishes. “As there is a monthly ‘Pop-Up Pub’ in the village hall every month, where we meet to quaff the local cider and beer!”
Lower Court is now for sale through Knight Frank, Worcester, for £950,000 guide price.