Myddelton Lodge in Ilkley has always been worthy of the prefix “magnificent”, whatever state it has found itself in over the centuries. Its vast, largely Elizabethan, facade and interiors packed with period features have earned it a Grade I listed status but it’s only in recent years that it could truly be described as “homely”and “stylish”.
That is thanks to Wendy and Andrew Cope, who bought the property in 2011 after falling for the location and the challenge the house presented. The building has its roots in the 13th century but is mostly Elizabethan with an attached chapel added in 1830.
In 1920, it was acquired by the Order of Passionist Fathers who used the Lodge as a retreat and in 1985, the Catholic Diocese of Leeds took charge of the estate and, following a brief period of use, it fell into disrepair and landed on the Historic England “at risk” register. Its initial saviours were Mark and Janet Sayer who bought it in 2000 and returned the lodge to the role of a family home.
They spent a small fortune restoring the building and won a conservation award from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. They sold it in 2008 but by the time the Copes bought it in 2011, it was in need of work and some TLC.
“It had been empty for two years when we bought it and a section has been divided off to create a separate dwelling but we could see the potential and the location and the views are incredible,” says Wendy.
After exchanging pleasantries with the neighbours, the Copes asked if they could have first refusal if they decided to sell. The neighbours agreed and Myddelton Lodge is now whole again as one dwelling and is practically perfect in every way thanks to a no expense spared renovation.
Putting it on the market after 11 happy years is a wrench for Wendy and Andrew, who are downsizing now that two of their four children have flown the nest. The 11-bedroom country house, which has eight bedrooms and eight bathrooms, comes with 6.38 acres and is for sale with Croft Residential for £4.95m.
“It will be very difficult to leave here because we love it so much, part of me does not want to sell it. It’s been a wonderful place to bring children up and the views are spectacular in all seasons. The house is big but it also feels homely. I think that is our biggest achievement,” says Wendy.
The Copes have renovated a number of properties over the years and enjoy the process, which also enables Wendy, a yoga teacher, to put her interior design training to good use. They have installed new flooring, refitted the bathrooms, upgraded and redecorated at Myddelton Lodge while ensuring that its features remain the stars of the show.
One of the first projects was to turn the former chapel and its mezzanine into a luxury kitchen/breakfast room with underfloor heating. The original stained glass window is centre stage and the soft neutral palette elsewhere ensures that nothing in this room attempts to fight with it. The oak flooring is from Machells, the cabinets are by Martin Moore and there is a Lacanche cooker and a chandelier from Dutch company Brand van Egmond.
“We used neutral colours on the walls almost everywhere in the house and then added colour with fabrics and art,” says Wendy, who mined the Designers Guild pattern book for fabric and used Italian mosaics from Sicis to add interest to the bathrooms.
The furniture is a mix of modern, including the Roche Bobois sofa, and antique, though an Ercol sideboard, chosen by Andrew, also looks perfect.
Another room of particular note is the former Great Chamber, now the drawing room, with its two original fireplaces in adjacent corners of the room. There is also a morning room, sitting room,office/library, two cloakrooms, a boot room and a cellar plus a family room, presently used as a gym, plus an office/library, two cloakrooms, boot room and a cellar.
On the first floor level there is a bedroom suite above the office/library, a separate bedroom and the principal bedroom suite with ensuite and dressing room.
On the second floor is a bathroom and four further bedrooms.
The East wing also has a kitchen/breakfast room, sitting room, and dining room on the ground floor. There are two guest bedroom suites on the first floor, two further bedrooms, a sitting room and a family bathroom.
Outside, there is a paddock with recently planted trees and mature woodland, gardens, a garage and a yoga studio with heating, a shower and WC. The grounds also have a Grade II listed gazebo, dating from the 16th or 17th century.
Myddelton Lodge has a spectacular, south-facing position across the valley, overlooking Ilkley and Ilkley Moor. Tucked away above the town, the property also has direct access to surrounding countryside and bridleways. The house is about a half-mile away from Ilkley town centre, which has two supermarkets along with a variety of shops, restaurants, a cinema, cafes, a thriving arts scene and an indoor swimming pool and lido.
Schools are good and there is a railway station with trains to Bradford and to Leeds, where there are trains to London. Leeds Bradford International Airport is around a 20-minute drive away.
For details contact Croft Residential, tel: 01904 238222, www.croftresidential.co.uk