The setting to many of Jane Austen’s classic novels, and evocative backdrop to all the best period dramas to grace our screens, there is something enduringly appealing about a former rectory.

Once home to local clergy, rectories played an important role in our communities for generations. Their scale and grandeur was a reflection of the regard in which the rector was held, with many of the best examples dating back to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when the church was at its wealthiest.

The Old Rectory in Hinton Blewett is a particularly fine example and boasts a rich history. The core of the property is understood to date back to the seventeenth century, and was altered and added to during the more prosperous eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Its architecture is classically Georgian, and is recognised by Historic England for its significance by way of a Grade II listing. This particular home is set apart from many others thanks to its grand 28 and 16-pane elongated sash windows, which are an 1803 addition, and quite rare.

Over the decades, The Old Rectory has had several high-profile residents. It was the home of Bristolian, Baron William Rees-Mogg and his family for many years before being sold to businessman and Virgin Mobile co-founder, Tom Alexander, in the mid-1990s. During his tenure in the house, Irish pop band, The Corrs, is understood to have rented it out.

In recent years, it has enjoyed a comparatively quieter period, during which time its owners have focused on enhancing and expanding its accommodation. It remains every bit the quintessential Georgian rectory, boasting beautifully maintained original features, including blue lias flagstone floors, traditional panelling and an impressive seven fireplaces.

But this is by no means a home that is stuck in the past; its owners have embraced the opportunity to bring in some fantastic new elements, including a stunning indoor swimming pool and a luxurious self-contained apartment.

The result is a best-in-class home, ideally set up for modern family life, and with space to host guests, whether family members, staff or as part of a commercial enterprise, and its sale is a chance to acquire a wonderful home in a historic village.

The Old Rectory is on the market for a guide price of £2,500,000.

Great British Life: David Wild from Savills in BristolDavid Wild from Savills in Bristol


Good schooling has long been a key driver of demand across Somerset’s prime housing market, with the golden triangle between Bristol, Bath and Wells a particular hotbed for growing family buyers.

On the foot of the Mendips, a designated Area of Outstanding Beauty, the area encompasses some of the best countryside landscapes Somerset has to offer, and is an impressively rugged backdrop to a whole host of outdoor pursuits.

Villages such as Hinton Blewett, Bishop Sutton, Blagdon, Chew Magna and West Harptree are all hotspots, providing the much-coveted rural lifestyle, along with excellent connectivity. In the last few years we have seen a notable shift in family buyer priorities, with connectivity to school now outweighing connectivity to work as the most important factor.

Historically buyers looking to move into the area would map out their target area based on the ease of travel to and from their workplace. However, since many people’s working patterns have changed since the pandemic, buyers are far less concerned about the commute. Meanwhile, proximity to the best schools has jumped to the top of the priority list.

Families often decide to move when their children are approaching primary school age, however they will normally take a long-term view, with the Ofsted ratings and Key Stage 4 results for secondary schools heavily influencing their choice of location. This means we often see more competition for homes close to good secondaries, whether state or independent.

Something to bear in mind, whether you are buying or selling, is the school bus route. It may not be immediately obvious, but being on the route to a popular school may well give one home the edge over another when it comes to a sale.