When a grand house falls into decay, there is rarely any shortage of worthy bodies and individuals to rush to its rescue, lavishing cash and compliments and ensuring it’s saved from the bulldozers. There are, however, hundreds more properties, more modest but still an integral part of our heritage that crumble away, unseen, unsung and unmourned. Such could have so easily been the fate of Roses Farm.

TEST The study leads on to the drawing room or ‘hall’ dominated, perhaps a trifle smugly, by a massive and handsome grandfather clock that once belonged to Sarah’s grandfather. The medieval lancet arch was discovered buried behind plasterboard

The study leads on to the drawing room or ‘hall’ dominated, perhaps a trifle smugly, by a massive and handsome grandfather clock that once belonged to Sarah’s grandfather. The medieval lancet arch was discovered buried behind plasterboard

TEST Throughout the house, every nook and cranny is home to some fascinating and much loved item, many of which have tumbled down through the generations to be caught gently by their present owner

Throughout the house, every nook and cranny is home to some fascinating and much loved item, many of which have tumbled down through the generations to be caught gently by their present owner

TEST When Johnny dug up the centre bay floor he found the original medieval fireplace along with some animal bones and what might have been a deer’s skull. “We have preserved the flatstones around the fireplace and re-laid the new oak floorboards over it,” says Johnny. “We also left the skull – it may have been from a slaughtered animal but it may also have been some kind of talisman and I didn’t feel like messing with some long-dead shaman.”

When Johnny dug up the centre bay floor he found the original medieval fireplace along with some animal bones and what might have been a deer’s skull. “We have preserved the flatstones around the fireplace and re-laid the new oak floorboards over it,” says Johnny. “We also left the skull – it may have been from a slaughtered animal but it may also have been some kind of talisman and I didn’t feel like messing with some long-dead shaman.”

TEST To the rear of the dining room is the kitchen, its floor 18-inch wide oak boards, its cupboards made from the Victorian dado that was once in the drawing room, and the work surface great elm slabs from the local estate

To the rear of the dining room is the kitchen, its floor 18-inch wide oak boards, its cupboards made from the Victorian dado that was once in the drawing room, and the work surface great elm slabs from the local estate

TEST The kitchen leads to a study, a structure that looks as though it has stood for centuries but was, in fact, added by Johnny when he found evidence that such a structure once existed

The kitchen leads to a study, a structure that looks as though it has stood for centuries but was, in fact, added by Johnny when he found evidence that such a structure once existed

TEST A door from what was once the medieval storeroom, now the dining room, leads into the kitchen

A door from what was once the medieval storeroom, now the dining room, leads into the kitchen

TEST A cosy corner of the dining room

A cosy corner of the dining room

TEST In the dining room, pride of place in the inglenook is a venerable Aga and above it a crowded rack of pots and pans

In the dining room, pride of place in the inglenook is a venerable Aga and above it a crowded rack of pots and pans

TEST The floor around the Aga is made from the few Tudor tiles that Johnny managed to salvage from the hard core

The floor around the Aga is made from the few Tudor tiles that Johnny managed to salvage from the hard core

TEST Upstairs, past a visiting statue of the Buddha, is the main bedroom, its rollercoaster of a floor testament to the building’s movement through the ages

Upstairs, past a visiting statue of the Buddha, is the main bedroom, its rollercoaster of a floor testament to the building’s movement through the ages

TEST An antique silver brush and mirror set is lovingly positioned on a set of drawers in the master bedroom

An antique silver brush and mirror set is lovingly positioned on a set of drawers in the master bedroom

TEST The vast cranked tie beam supporting the king post above the master bedroom lurches some 18 inches at one end

The vast cranked tie beam supporting the king post above the master bedroom lurches some 18 inches at one end

TEST “A sharply turning stair leads up into the top-floor storeroom, in the centre of which are new wind braces and collars, replacements of the lost originals.”

“A sharply turning stair leads up into the top-floor storeroom, in the centre of which are new wind braces and collars, replacements of the lost originals.”

TEST The children’s bedrooms are packed with artworks that they have created over the years and collections of objects from their travels all over the world

The children’s bedrooms are packed with artworks that they have created over the years and collections of objects from their travels all over the world

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TEST The extensive garden at Roses Farm is full of bright pops of colour emerging from lush green foliage. Clematis, lupins and fragrant roses, all in vibrant, varying shades of fuchsia, were gorgeous in full bloom

The extensive garden at Roses Farm is full of bright pops of colour emerging from lush green foliage. Clematis, lupins and fragrant roses, all in vibrant, varying shades of fuchsia, were gorgeous in full bloom

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  • words:
  • pictures: David Merewether
  • styling: Lucy Fleming

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