For whom the bell tolls
A historic Sutherland church is now a stylish family home, writes Susan Welsh
For more than 150 years, the bell atop the old Free Church at Gledfield near Ardgay rang out to remind parishioners to come to prayer.
Today, the original bell on the B-listed former church, which dates back to 1849, still takes pride of place on the building which was converted into a lovely family home in 2008.
Sitting on the outskirts of the Sutherland village in a quiet rural spot, it would make an ideal house for someone looking for a home with lots of character.
It has numerous interesting features, such as rooms with high ceilings, full-height south-facing windows and the original ornate Victorian pulpit.
After entering via a large, solid wooden front door, you are in a welcoming hall with reception-area Caithness slate flooring and a pretty pine staircase.
The house, which is on the market at offers over £275,000, has an impressive open-plan family room/dining room and kitchen; a sitting room, utility room and study, three bedrooms – one of which has an en-suite – and a family bathroom.
The main open-plan room is an extremely large space with a double-height ceiling which is also home to the original tiered pulpit.
The space is bright thanks to two impressive full-height windows combined with good use of lighting and feature glass.
The kitchen has high-quality Schuller units which provide excellent storage and pull-out larder drawers. There’s also an integral dishwasher, wine cooler, two electric ovens, fridge, freezer, halogen induction hob with extractor fan while an island storage unit means there’s plenty of work surfaces.
The lower floor also has a practical utility room, two bedrooms and a study with private access to the garden, reached via the pulpit.
Heading upstairs, a wooden door leads to the upper hall which is a balcony overlooking the main open-plan living space below.
Glazed doors to the right lead to the living room, a superb space with windows on three sides, while coloured glass tiles overlook the reception space.
The master bedroom is another grand room with a double wardrobe, en-suite shower room and plenty of space for a sitting area.
A luxury mood-lighting system has been installed throughout the house with floor lighters, multi-coloured spotlights, ceiling and wall lights creating a nice atmosphere.
Outside, the church sits within a walled garden stretching to around a third of an acre with lots of lawns and mature trees and plenty of parking space.
A practical stone store, with power and light, is located under the study to the side of the church.
The former church sits just half a mile from the Sutherland village of Ardgay which sits on the southern shore at the head of the Dornoch Firth, an area renowned for fishing, walking and other outdoor pursuits.
Ardgay is served by train links to the north and south with Inverness about 80 minutes away.
The village, which lies at the head of the Dornoch Firth on its southern shore, has a primary school, café, shop and banking. Medical and other services can be found locally in nearby Bonar Bridge.
For more information on the Old Free Church, Church Street, Ardgay, contact the selling agents, MacKenzie & Cormack on 01862 892046.