Sheep Street, Charlbury, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, OX7

Guide price

Bedrooms: 5
A rare opportunity to acquire a sizable Cotswold stone residence - a combination of the original Farmhouse and of an adjacent Shop and Barn, all within the picturesque and well-connected village of Charlbury.

Householder Permitted Development Rights enable the Owner to create at least two parking places in the Lower Garden (Please see for correspondence with West Oxfordshire District Council)

The Old Farmhouse was, in the past, the residence of Dr Charles Lane, son of the iconoclastic biologist and Nature Conservationist the Hon. Dr Miriam Rothschild OBE, DBE, FRS. Dr Lane – the current owner – is the co-inventor with Drs Marbaix and Gurdon of the much used “exogenous mRNA expression technology” (think Covid Vaccines!). Charles resided at the Old Farmhouse with noted medical research worker and expert on sepsis Dr Carmen Wheatley. Carmen with the help of gardening expert Robin Lane-Fox designed the pleasing two tiered garden. The lack of a larger green space can perhaps be assuaged by the purchase of a few acres of land at nearby Hill Farm Taston, also owned by this branch of the Rothschild family. One can walk through charming countryside from the Old Farmhouse to Hill Farm, Taston – a distance of only circa 1.6 miles. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but Hill Farm lays claim to being a most charming element of the Cotswold Escarpment.

The Old Farmhouse itself seems to have been built in the late 18th Century or early 19th Century, as was the adjacent and presumably related barn. The ground floor of the barn was converted into a shop, in recent times bearing the name “Caigers”, in honour of the owner, Mr Caiger – by repute an allegedly skilled and daring World War II fighter pilot.

Caigers now enjoys permission for office use, and enjoys both an internal access and an access out to the public highway, thus out on to Sheep Street.

Remodelling and extension of the property occurred, and at a somewhat leisurely pace, between circa 1989 and 1994. As the residence of two somewhat unusual owners the house enjoys some interesting and surprisingly features. Not everyone could add a Gothic Style Orangery to a Georgian Style residence with a courtyard reminiscent of an Oxford College! A key attribute of the house is the spectacular view across the valley towards Cornbury House and towards Wychwood Forest. To optimise the view, the windows are well designed, and most importantly the vast and magnificent barn now leads, via double doors, to a charming balcony.

The craftsmanship in the Old Farmhouse varies from the exquisite – for example, the barn room, the rear Elm-wood staircase, and the sauna room , to the decidedly modern – for example the tiled floor takes in the somewhat under equipped kitchen.

To understand the layout of The Old Farmhouse one must be prepared to go round in a large vertical asymmetric circle.

The Sheep Street - entrance - dining room, study - sitting room – staircase – master bedroom – bathroom – second bedroom - third bedroom – staircase – third floor room (the third floor room is not habitable space, and can only be used as a thoroughfare) – bedroom – landing - sauna – ground floor lobby – and downstairs bathroom – office space– and orangey style gothic drawing room and top tier of the garden (with steps to the lower tier) and gated exit to the rear, the Bell Hotel. Because the Old Farmhouse and the former barn are different heights, this asymmetric circle involves several small different levels.

The Old Farmhouse is a really unusual house, well suited for entertaining, and the product of some unusual thinking.

The Old Farmhouse Off-Street Parking Permissible

A Pre-Application enquiry was submitted to West Oxfordshire District Council requesting permission to widen the existing Garden Gateway (at the bottom of the Lower Garden) of The Old Farmhouse to allow parking for at least two vehicles.

The response received from the District Council stated that the works could proceed forthwith because full Planning Permission was not required: the proposed changes to the existing Garden Gateway to create parking access would come under Householder Permitted Developments Rights.

Details of the correspondence to and from West Oxfordshire District Council can be viewed on the OHL Limited website (see If any problems, please telephone OHL Limited on 01832 272264 and OHL Limited can Email you copies of the said correspondence.

The present owner is in the process of obtaining quotes for the required parking access at The Old Farmhouse.

The grounds are two tiered and bounded by a stone wall replete with niches for statuary. The garden is laid in part as lawn with well stocked borders and mature trees giving the setting a good degree of privacy. Beyond the lawn is a box topiary garden with fruit trees. 'The small circa 3 metres x 2 metres area of land is subject to a right of way amd thus may not be used as a parking space. However, by custom, this area of land has been used to park vehicles on a permanent basis. Further details are available

Subject to Planning, it may be possible to split The Old Farmhouse into two separate residences, of circa 2811sq/ft and 3675sq/ft. This creative idea is explained further on the OHL Limited website (see

Charlbury is on the main railway line leading to Oxford (consequentially a journey time of circa 20 minutes). At the risk of understatement Oxford boasts many wonderful schools, a world famous University, and a range of employment opportunities.

Charlbury is on the main railway line leading to London (Paddington Station) (journey times of circa 52 min)

Charlbury is on the main railway line leading to both Worcester (circa 56 min) and Birmingham (circa 1hr 36min)

Charlbury provides an interesting community of artists, of academics, of business persons, of rural types and of retired folk. We believe Charlbury has a real sense of community.

Charlbury hosts a wide range of pubs, restaurants and hotels including the Bell Inn and the Bull Inn. Historically the hostelry known as Bell Inn has been known to provide food (and even deliver) for dinner parties and picnics at the Old Farmhouse. The Bell Inn adjoins The Old Farmhouse, and can be accessed via the lower garden gate.

If one compiled a spreadsheet of North Oxfordshire Towns & Villages, and lists their various attributes, we believe that Charlbury would come near the top, the trump cards being the excellent train services, the wonderful walks and the nature of the local community – a community typical of a small town rather than a mere village. It was just such a matric based decision that prompted the present owner – a scientist – to buy and to renovate this unusual Property.

Charlbury is an historic Cotswold market town located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Situated in the Evenlode Valley well away from busy main roads, the Town looks out across a valley to Cornbury Park. Thus Charlbury on one side faces the magnificent Wychwood Forest, part of the renowned Cornbury Estate. Charlbury started life as a small village in a clearing of the Forest and was made prosperous during the 18th Century by virtue of its glove making industry. One attribute specific to The Old Farmhouse is the spectacular view towards Cornbury House and Wychwood Forrest.

The Charlbury Museum holds displays illustrating the town's traditional crafts and industries. The town boasts a green known as The Playing Close which the green is surrounded by a series of period cottages. A neo-Jacobean drinking fountain is found near The Playing Close. The largely perpendicular style church of St Mary was restored by the Victorians but nonetheless the church blends in well with the nearby stone-fronted shops and hostelries.

Charlbury Train Station was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and is a listed building. The Cotswold Line, opened by the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway Company in 1853 has given Charlbury its excellent rail links with Oxford and with London.

The Cotswold Line provides a regular service to Oxford and London Paddington Station. The M40 (J9) is approximately 15 miles away. Charlbury hosts a wide range hostelries including the Bell Inn. Historically the Bell has been known to deliver food for dinner parties and picnics.

01865 708646

John D Wood

235 Banbury Road, Oxford

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