Posted: Fri, 06 Jul 2012 11:30
Our most recent restoration project has been Church House in Boot, Eskdale. Eskdale was described by the late Alfred Wainwright as the Lakes' loveliest valley. Church House, Boot has nearly been a restoration project too far; or should that be by far?!
Sitting in the most idyllic location at the end of a single track road/bridleway next to St Catherine's Church, Boot is a small Cumbrian dwelling built around 1737 onwards. We know this from the beautiful original Westmorland build in cupboards in the parlour. Well it's an important and lovely old building that's been sadly neglected and even worse helped by its previous owners to be desolate and damp by planting 70 trees as close as 10ft away from the property.
It was hidden and choking in its own man-made conifer forest – hard to imagine when you look at it now! The good news is, years of neglect meant beneath the grime and the sadness was an early Georgian unrestored gem crying out to shine – and shine it now does.
In my humble opinion the 'old lady' of Eskdale now breathes again. She is restored, beautiful and functioning as an important stone dwelling admired by all who tramp past her on their walks to the fells.
The legacy that the previous owners left was in fact a house trapped in a time warp – so neglected and untouched it was impossible to resist (!). So with not much thought to practicalities in February 2010, beloved items were hastily sold, cash was raised and the ridiculously impracticable job of restoring a remote wreck some 130 miles away in a hard to reach valley began.
It's been a slog to say the least at times and unwavering bucketfuls of stubborn (or is that stupid?!) optimism were required to reveal in early June 2012 the current, habitable, humble, calm and somehow dignified and glorious Church House.
Then pictures of before, after and during the process tell a thousand words so peruse at your pleasure!
I can only say I'm thrilled and honoured to be a part of Church House's history. She's rescued for many years to come.
Very best wishes
The photo shows the front of the house as purchased, complete with sunroom in the distance.