West Hill Farm - a cottage at the heart of a working farm which is looking for new custodians

West Hill Farm, Brandeston

West Hill Farm, Brandeston - Credit: Archant

Property writer David Vincent visits a farmhouse home in rolling countryside - where a Prime Minister stayed for his holidays.

West Hill Farm, Brandeston

West Hill Farm, Brandeston - Credit: Archant

West Hill Farm, just outside the village of Brandeston, has been at the heart of a working farm for many years.

West Hill Farm, Brandeston

West Hill Farm, Brandeston - Credit: Archant

It is in a lovely location, surrounded by rolling countryside. Who said Suffolk was flat?.

Now, with the retirement of its owners, it is being sold with a significant parcel of land, outbuidlings, garaging and stables.

So new owners could keep horses or other livestock, or extend the vegetable gardens and orchards to become close to self sufficient.

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There are crops of spring barley, wheat and peas as well as grassland.

Brandeston itself has a famous pub, the White Horse and Brandeston College prep school and the market town Framlingham is only six miles to the north.

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There has been a farm here for hundreds of years and the house is said to be on the site of an old monastery. It is an eight bedroom, two bathroom home.

Ed and Hilary Stone are still working the farm and looking towards retirement.

Ed Stone was born in one of the farm cottages and moved to the big house when he was two years-old.

Their own children have grown up here.

“It is going to be a bit of a wrench leaving,” he said. “It is absolutely unspoilt here.”

The pretty Edwardian farmouse was built for Captain Ransome, the wealthy industrialist and a member of the Ipswich engineering family and no expense was spared in its construction..

The quality of the craftsmanship obvious throughout the house speaks to that today.

The two impressive reception rooms, the drawing room and the dining room, has Parisian style ceilings, with acorn and oak leaf decorations made specially by a craftsman from Paris for the rooms..

Hilary said Captain Ransome would

visit once a week, during construction. If he wasn’t happy with the project he would order it to be knocked down and work to be done again.

At one time the house was occupied by Major Lloyd-George. His father David Lloyd-George - the British Prime Minister from 1916-1922 - also stayed here.

His favourite room, the smallest bedroom in the house, still has a cupboard door painted Liberal yellow.

This lovely spot would have been the perfect rural retreat - away from the hurley-burley of Parliament, and the worries of wartime. There is an old black and white photograph of his Rolls Royce outside the front of the house.

There are older people in the area who remember his visits. At another time it is said to have been a Suffolk Punch stud.

The farmhouse has been carefully positioned to take advantage of the views across the formal gardens, fields and woodland.

There is a productive kitchen garden and an orchard.

The house also has a farmhouse style kitchen, a breakfast room, utility room, office, a freezer room and a ground floor bathroom.

Although this is not a listed building, it has lots of character features, including a fully-fitted butler’s pantry and also a glass cupboard which have been unaltered.

“We have treasured it,” added Hilary.

“It is quite a responsibility. As farmers you don’t own things - you are custodians of it.”

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