Would you buy a house with a graveyard for a garden?
- Credit: Archant
A beautiful Victorian church in an idyllic village setting close to the Essex/Suffolk border is up for sale - with a graveyard in the back garden.
Boxted Methodist Church, in Chapel Road, just outside Colchester, was a Victorian church opened in 1832, but held its last service on July 7, 2019 and is now formally closed.
It comes with a huge potential living space, a first floor mezzanine, beautiful solid wood front door and electric heating throughout the property.
It is now up for sale for £200,000, with a future owner able to enjoy the building's high ceilings, open plan living space, tall windows - and graveyard to the rear of the property.
A buyer would own the church as a freeholder, but would take out a 999-year leasehold on the graveyard.
According to estate agent Boydens, there are detailed requirements for anyone to follow regarding the graveyard, as well as a responsibility to "maintain those laid to rest there in the last 50 years".
While the sale of a cemetery is rare, it is not unprecedented.
Advice from the Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes (TMCP) says: "It is possible to sell a burial ground either by itself or together with the chapel and/or other buildings on the church site.
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"In short, a burial ground must be sold by way of the grant of a long term lease to the buyer or tenant.
"This helps to ensure that the Methodist Church can enforce the covenants placed on the former burial ground and the history of the land as a burial ground continues to be recognised."
The TMCP also say it ensures that buyers will compensate the church "against any future activities undertaken".
Although built more than 180 years ago, the building is not listed.
The pulpit and pews of the church can be purchased separately by negotiation.
The building is currently listed for non-residential use and would require planning permission to change the purpose of the building, but it could become a residential space.
It could be used as a health centre, creche, school, museum or public library without having to apply for a change of purpose.
A similar property was spotted for sale by estate agents Bedfords in January 2019 in North Lopham, Norfolk.
The Norfolk home is currently under offer.