St Mary’s dates back to the 13th century and is for sale at £700,000 in a village near the Essex/Suf
But would you really want to live in a decommissioned church or chapel?
Plenty of people do, particularly as the open-plan space provides a blank canvas for them to stamp their character onto a property.
“Church conversions often attract creative types – those who can see potential, enjoy the architectural significance and appreciate voluminous spaces,” says Edward Church, head of Strutt & Parker Canterbury.
“It won’t often be families who buy them because of the layout – some of the bedroom spaces can be unusual, but an arty couple or down-sizers looking for open-plan living will snap these up. I have never had a problem selling them.”
Chapel conversions come onto the market more often than churches, he says, because they are usually too small for large family homes: “Transactionally they can move hands quite a lot,” he explains.
The simplicity of chapels, sometimes with Arts & Crafts touches, adds to their attraction, Church adds: “And they don’t tend to have graveyards, heavy stained glass windows or other ornamentation, they are smaller and are open to full height allowing owners to put whatever style they like in them.”
The chapel conversion provided space without having to pay for a baronial home
The appeal is often the village location and that is true of Ed Passant and his partner Liz, who moved into Providence Chapel in Warehorne, Kent, about 15 years ago to escape London.
“I was looking out at a kebab shop and I could see the kebab rotating,” says Ed.
“Now I look out and see countryside. The chapel conversion provided space without having to pay for a baronial home. That’s the advantage of a chapel-type property.”
Interior of the stunning St Mary’s conversion
The three-bedroom, two-bathroom home features the original chapel panelling, plus the unusual inclusion for a chapel of a garden and drive. It is for sale at £450,000 with Hunters (0800 008 6906; hunters.com).
Chapel and church conversions are a welcome change from flats carved out of Victorian, Georgian and Edwardian houses, says Hugh Frost-Wellings, sales manager at Dexters Maida Vale, which has a two-bedroom, two-bathroom ground-floor flat in a former church hall on its books near north London’s Queen’s Park station.
Owner Min Walia, 39, says: “We bought it because of the property’s architecture. So we have got the character of the church hall on the outside but also a very modern interior.”
This chapel has three bedrooms upstairs, a drive and sitting area and is for sale at £450,000
The flat, one of eight in the building, has been modernised in the past year and is for sale at £649,000 (020 7266 2020; dexters.co.uk).
But for those looking for a church property that has retained almost all its original features, Grade II* listed St Mary’s in the Essex village of Pattiswick is perfect.
Dating back to the 13th century, the building retains its timber frames in the roof and an ornate wooden rood screen, as well as stained glass windows dating back to 1881 with large clear windows that let in plenty of light.
“We bought it off the church in 1991,” says interior designer Kate Ainslie Williams. “It took seven years to buy and one year to convert.”
Providence Chapel in Warehorne, Kent, with its original panels in the large lounge
Kate and her husband have used the property as a weekend retreat from their London home, but now want to build a house from scratch in the same area.
The three-bedroom, mainly open-plan property is for sale at £700,000 with Strutt & Parker (01245 254600; struttandparker.com) and comes complete with two pews, choir kneelers and even the village Bible.
“They will all stay with the church,” says Kate. “It’s somebody else’s turn to enjoy it all.”