Coplowe Lane, Bletsoe, Bedfordshire, MK44 1QE
- A Grade II* listed house on the site of a former fortified manor house
- Moat (an ancient scheduled monument) and 24.25 acres of grounds
- Eight bedrooms
- Four bathrooms
- Hall/billiard room and six reception rooms
- Outbuildings including stables, garages, barn, stores
- Tennis court
- Driveway parking
A Grade II* listed house on the site of a former fortified manor house with a moat (an ancient scheduled monument), a tennis court, outbuildings and over 24 acres of gardens and paddocks.
The house is built of course limestone with clay tiles over a hipped roof and has 7,590 sq. ft. of versatile accommodation. The property retains period features including fireplaces and exposed beams but works well for modern family life with the main reception rooms interconnected and with doors to the garden giving a good flow through the space for entertaining. Equestrian facilities include stables, a tack room, a barn and several paddocks. The extensive outbuildings also include several store rooms, garages and a greenhouse and there are two one bedroom cottages which could be combined into a single cottage if desired. The property has over 24 acres of gardens and grounds which wrap around the house and are surrounded by open countryside. It is a peaceful rural location but is within walking distance of amenities in the village and is within 15 minutes drive of wider amenities in Bedford.
History and Heritage
Bletsoe Castle was created by John de Patishull, who received a licence to crenellate an existing manor house on the east side of Bletsoe in 1327. In 1421 the house descended to Margaret Beauchamp who married Sir Oliver St John and, on his death in 1437, she remarried John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset. Their daughter, Margaret Beaufort, mother of the first Tudor king Henry VII, was born in the house in 1443. The house later passed down in the St John of Bletsoe family. In the late 16th or early 17th century, a new building was erected around the castle, quadrangular in design with three or four storeys and gable windows. Much of this later building was pulled down, leaving a much smaller building, but still incorporating parts of the older castle within the older medieval earthworks.
The present house is a much altered and renovated house of late 16th century origins. Since 1813 it has been used as a farm house and only the outer walls of the original Elizabethan fabric remain. The old moat, which is an ancient scheduled monument, can still be traced for a considerable distance around the old walls of the castle.
A solid oak entrance door at the rear of the property opens to an impressive hallway which has a domed lantern skylight and space for a billiard table. A door leads to the inner hall which has several built-in storage cupboards and access to the cloakroom which has storage for coats and shoes and the WC in a separate room. The boot room has a window to the side, a sink and a door to the boiler room which has windows and a door to the rear.
Principal Reception Rooms
The three principal reception rooms are interlinked and all have exposed ceiling beams and windows overlooking the south west facing lawned garden. The dual aspect drawing room has an open fireplace with a stone surround and hearth, views over the historic moat, and glazed double doors to an extensive gravel terrace which spans the front and side of the property and provides ample space for outside dining and seating areas. The sitting room also has a traditional fireplace and a door to the gravel terrace. There is a staircase to the first floor and a connecting door to the dining room.
Other Reception Rooms
The snug is accessed via the inner hallway and has a window to the rear. There is also a study for working from home which has access to an understair storage cupboard, and a window overlooking the lawned garden. The games room measures over 28 ft. by 19 ft. and has triple aspect windows and a door to the gravel terrace.
The kitchen/breakfast room overlooks the garden and is fitted with a comprehensive range of cream fronted units with granite work surfaces incorporating a double Belfast sink. There is space for a range cooker, a microwave, a dishwasher and other appliances. The room has a serving hatch to the dining room, and space for a central breakfast table.
The first floor can be accessed via the main stairs in the sitting room as well as by a secondary staircase by the study. The stairs lead to a long landing which spans the width of the property and has several windows to the rear overlooking the forecourt driveway and countryside beyond. There are built-in cupboards and two store rooms.
Master Bedroom Suite
The master bedroom is at the west end of the house. The bedroom has a range of built-in wardrobes and dual aspect windows with views over the garden and the moat. The en suite bathroom has a connecting door to bedroom two which is currently being used as a dressing room.
Other Bedrooms and Bathrooms
There are six further double bedrooms which all have high ceilings and built-in storage, and four of which have washbasins. One of the bedrooms has a window to the rear but the other five all overlook the front with views over the garden. One of the bedrooms has an en suite bathroom and there are also two family bathrooms.
The gardens are a particular feature of Bletsoe Castle and include the moat which wraps around the property on two sides and has been dredged and restored by the vendors. The remains of the original stone moat bridge are also in the gardens which are mainly laid to lawn with established flower beds, herbaceous borders, specimen trees and shrubs. A walled garden to the east of the house includes vegetable beds and fruit trees. Beyond the gardens there is a paddock which is partly enclosed by a post and rail fence and has parkland trees such as oak, beech, and flowering cherry. There are further fenced paddocks to the north of the house and in total the grounds extend to approximately 24.25 acres.The property is accessed via a long gravel drive which passes the tennis court on its way to the house and outbuildings.
The property has 4,181 sq. ft. of outbuildings which include a brick built range with a slate tiled roof which comprises two one bedroom grooms cottages, a garden machinery store, stables and a tack room. There are further outbuildings to the east of the house including garages, garden stores and a greenhouse, and a further outbuilding with stabling for four horses and an open fronted barn.
Bletsoe Castle is situated in the village of Bletsoe which has a small park, a village hall and a church. For a wider range of amenities the village is only about 6 miles from the county town of Bedford which has a shopping centre, numerous cafes and restaurants and a wide choice of state and independent schools. Trains to London St Pancras take about 47 minutes. The M1 is 17.7 miles away and London is only 64 miles away.The house is surrounded by gently undulating countryside with The River Great Ouse a short distance to the west. Local sporting activities include golf at Woburn, Apsley Guise and various other courses around Bedford.