In Praise of the Parsonage
The words ‘More tea, vicar?’ conjure up pastoral scenes of cucumber sandwiches and croquet on the lawn, with bunting fluttering around a tea tent on the village green. The three words ‘The Old Rectory’ are equally evocative, painting a picture of a very specific way of English country life. Estate agents estimate that their cachet adds an extra 10-20% to their value compared to similarly sized village properties.
The word ‘parsonage’ refers to both rectories and vicarages, with rectories tending to be the grander property of the two. In days gone by, the rector was entitled to claim all the parish tithes, the vicar only a portion, so his home was on a smaller scale. Often designed by celebrated architects, many are Georgian, some are Victorian, and all are fine examples of their style of architecture. Estate agents are always delighted to receive instruction on one as demand is far greater than supply. Anthony Jennings, director of Save our Parsonages, describes them as ‘perhaps the most admirable, desirable and aesthetic body of domestic buildings ever built.’
It’s easy to see why you don’t have to be in the priesthood to want to live in one of these charming properties and they are rightly coveted as family homes. Guaranteed to be attractive, they have plenty of space for energetic children and dogs to play, both inside and out. Many also have a cottage or coach house in the grounds. Usually located next to the church, parsonages are at the heart of the village and enjoy all its benefits, as well as playing an important part in community life, often opening their doors and gardens for the village fete, or hosting fund raising events for the church.
The Murder at the Vicarage was one of Agatha Christie’s most celebrated novels, but for many of us the English parsonage will always represent a perfectly peaceful slice of idyllic country life.
If a parsonage is the property of your dreams, Michael Graham estate agents have several outstanding examples for you to be charmed by. Visit us at michaelgraham.co.uk