Written by Louis de Soissons.
Louis de Soissons, director and head of residential at Savills in Norwich brings us his latest buzzwords in his tour of the A-Z of property, stopping on the way to examine just a few of the many features from the everyday to the extraordinary.
This week C is for crenellation, cornicing and covenants
Crenellation – an Englishman’s home is his castle they say, something some homeowners took very much to heart from the Regency period onwards when crenellation became a popular architectural embellishment. Crenellated or castellated parapets harked back to a bygone era and were designed to create an air of gentrified grandeur thereby transforming an otherwise modest farmhouse into something altogether more noble.
Long before the advent of such domestic decoration, however, crenellation was a serious endeavour, embarked upon armed with a licence to crenelate from the monarch of the day.
Cornicing – elaborate plasterwork mouldings started to gain popularity from Tudor times when beams would be plastered and decorated, but the fashion really blossomed from the Restoration onwards.
One of the finest examples of early plasterwork can be found here inNorfolkat Melton Constable Hall. Later, elaborate ceiling roses became a common decorative flourish to accompany the introduction of large central chandeliers to light rooms.
These were adopted extensively by the Victorians and can still be seen widely in homes across the county which have retained their period features.
Modern replicas can also be found in DIY shops today. And lastsly, covenants – it is wise to be wary when buying any period property as deeds may still contain some somewhat archaic covenants which can restrict activity or the use of the property. These can include reserving the house for use as a single private dwelling or limiting any business activity on the premises.
Frequently where houses were once part of landed estates and subsequently sold, covenants exist for instance prohibiting the planting of yew hedges since yew is poisonous to grazing livestock. Covenants may also be in place where a large house has been converted into apartments or separate wings. These tend to concentrate on maintaining an attractive outlook and are to the mutual benefit of all residents. Other restrictions may seem outdated and, indeed, may no longer be enforceable but always ask your solicitor to check.
You can contact Louis de Soissons at Savills on 01603 229229.