Georgian Renovation Project

Dry Drayton | Cambridge | CB23


For Sale

30 Room Listed Rectory | 12,000 Sq Ft | Renovation Project

An extraordinary opportunity to invest, revive and restore an elegant family home – a huge grade II listed Georgian rectory just outside Cambridge.

An extraordinary development opportunity to bring a 30 room rectory back to life.

The Old Rectory is a family owned, grade two listed Georgian rectory lying to the West of Cambridge within the picturesque village of Dry Drayton. The building is still owned by the family it once housed through the 60’s’ 70’s and 80’s, but after falling into neglect from the mid 90’s, it now would suit a purchase for someone with a passion for renovation or property development.

At circa 10,000 sq ft its an incredibly imposing building. There are four floors, all of which are accessed by a wonderfully preserved and elegant open stair well. Each floor is beautifully proportioned with many of its period features still in tact whilst the rest have been safely stored ready to be re-installed after reviving.

The Old Rectory is an architectural gem which, in the right hands, would make an extraordinary family home, but It’s worth noting that the family would welcome interest from more commercially based developers who might consider converting this building in to luxury apartments and willing to work out a agreement subject to planning permission.

Whilst this maybe one of the largest, seemingly rurural houses in Cambridgeshire, it is situated just 5 miles (8km) from the centre of the city of Cambridge.  This world renowned university city is also home to tech giants, such as Microsoft and Amazon, and the pharmaceutical industry, including the headquarters of AstraZeneca. Cambridge is part of the ‘Golden Triangle’ of Cambridge, Oxford and London.

There are also excellent links to the M11/A14/A45 (all minutes away) and the railway station with regular fast routes to London.

This property is being handled by Simon Stone. To discuss in more detail or to receive additional information, please send your enquiry to [email protected]

The Old Rectory, Dry Drayton
(Originally part of the Glebe Estate)

the old rectory dry drayton


The Old Rectory lies in the parish and village of Dry Drayton in the County of Cambridgeshire, 5 miles North West of the university City of Cambridge.

The Old Rectory is a grade 2 listed building, completed in 1830-1, although parts of the building date back to earlier times. It is the most imposing residence in the village. The current building replaced a parish rectory for the pretty village church, which dates back to the mid 12th Century, and was set within extensive grounds, with many out buildings typical of a grand residence. The Old Rectory represents a good example of a large Regency country house, with its plan form intact and many external and internal features preserved, including a 94 feet deep well which supplied the house with water, pumped to tanks in the upper house. Remaining outhouses include brick built and slate sheds, brick built and tiled stores, which once housed a laundry with apple loft, and a cobbled yard.

The grounds have, over time, been reduced through subdivision to a fraction of their original extent. Nonetheless, the building is settled within mature trees (Temples of Heaven, lime trees, towering Wellintonia) and has a magnificent lawn. The Old Rectory is accessed from the high street via the Old Rectory Drive, a sweeping, single-lane, drive, which also provides access to 20th-century developments to the rear and side.

The grounds were divided up between family members in the 1950s and The Old Rectory now sits in a modest 1.5 acres. Extensive maintenance and repair works to the house undertaken over decade ago came to a halt due to illness and, sadly, the house has now fallen in to disrepair. The emotional ties of the owners to the house have prevented its sale up until now.

The Old Rectory has an almost 200-year history tied to its setting within Dry Drayton’s history. The property is a historic asset and has heritage value which should be kept for future generations.

The Old Rectory was bought in the 1930s by the Reverend Alan Armstrong, reverend of the parish (1930 – 1949) and academic theologian and has remained in the family ever since. He is described in ‘Gallows Piece to Bee Garden’, a millennium history of the parish, as “A fiery, generous and hospitable man”. The house has a fascinating history both architecturally and socially. The owners of this grand house, the Reverend and his wife Olive and then his son, Major Carter Simon Armstrong, a WW11 fighter pilot, played host to an international array of luminaries, among them theologians, educators, politicians, military leaders, poets, writers musicians and artists. The house was famous for its busy social life with open house on Sunday afternoons. The family hosted village fetes and feasts in the grounds and, on the expansive lawn of the house, musical soirees and glittering parties.

It also served as a refuge for post WW11 veterans, who were simply trying to find their way in this “human house”. Pre and post war, the Armstrong family received at their home some of the most notable people of their day, among them Rudyard Kipling, E. M. Forster, F.R. Leavis, G.M. Trevelyan and the poet and writer Hamish Henderson, who remained a lifelong family friend until his death in 2002. In the ‘Making of a Poet’, by Timothy Neat, he describes the first visit by Henderson to the Old Rectory, Dry Drayton, and the lasting  influence it made on his life. The house continued to be a vibrant home throughout the decades with its legacy continuing until recent times.

the old rectory dry drayton for sale
Detailed description of the house

The Old Rectory, without its outbuildings, comprise roughly 1,000 sq metres of GIA,
set within approximately 1.5 acres.

The plan form of the Regency building and its Victorian extensions is largely intact, bar a few 20th century alterations, none of which materially affect the architectural integrity. The Regency block maintains sufficient historic fabric, with shutters and trims, marble and wooded fire places, original sash windows, grand staircase still in place and able to be restored. The envelope of the building is also in a salvageable state.

The Victorian wings are in a state of dilapidation with most internal features and finishes having been lost including some of the floor structures. But still retains a full sized billiard room with recessed housing for cues

The Regency follows the Palladian idiom and was originally rectangular in plan. The house features a pedimented and symmetric principal facade, a central grand staircase, grand, lofty rooms on ground floor and well proportioned rooms on first floor and 2nd floors. The external walls are in pale, hard, smooth brickwork with stone trims and tuck-pointed flat arches over well-proportioned sash windows. The internal treatment features cornices, architraved door frames, skirtings and window shutters typical for the era. Impressive stucco ‘picture frames’ sit on the walls of the drawing room and are still intact.

The house is built in Gault brick and rare Ketton stone, with pieces of exceptionally large stone in the porch. Dressings are with hipped, slate roofs and the roof is parapetted with a pediment.
The front of the house faces the garden and extensive lawn. Four bays including the two slightly projecting and pedimented centre bays, house large windows. Windows have recessed hung sashes in fat gauged brick arches. Entry is through the porch to side of the house with plain piers of Ketton (mentioned above) and similar Gault brick walls. The interior has the original open string cantilevered staircase and one original white marble fireplace. Fireplaces in the drawing room and dining room are black slate.

To the rear of the original house are two double-storey wings, typically Victorian in their architectural language. which were added some 50 years or so later, including a full size billiard room on the second floor, which has a walled recess for cues. Many of these rooms would have housed servants quarters and and offices for the grand house and the ‘old kitchen’ with a large, flagstone floor can be found here. Here you will find a second, back staircase leading to all floors. There are some outbuildings which appear to also date from Victorian times.

The timbers for the house are American redwood, used for floors boards, glazing bar windows and doors. Other timbers are from Russia which was used for the exceptional long ceiling beams (one the length of an entire corridor/landing).

Dry Drayton | CB23



Energy rating




Service Charge:


Ground Rent:


Local Authority:

South Cambridge

Council Tax:


Approx Monthly Utility Bills:


* Property construction: Traditional Brick
* Utilities: Gas, Electricity, Water Supply, Broadband
* Gas Supply: Independently supplied – supplier unknown
* Electricity supply: Independently supplied – supplier unknown
* Water supply: Mains connected
* Sewerage: Mains connected
* Broadband: Standard Download speed – 12mps; Upload Speed: 1mps (Ultrafast is unavailable)
* Mobile signal/coverage: Likely Coverage of all major networks outside – Indoor: EE – Likely coverage, Three/O2/Vodafone – No coverage,

* Building safety: Structural works are required. Please seek advice from an independant structrual engineer.
* Restrictions: Grade II listed
* Rights and easements: Shared access with neighbouring properties.
* Flood risk: Very low risk –
* Flight path: None known

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