Nigel Briggs has sold thousands of houses in the Beaconsfield area since it became part of his patch as an estate agent more than 30 years ago.

One of the properties on the books this week at his office in the Old Town is a Grade II listed village house in Cookham High Street dating from the early 1800s. It has been home to Nigel and his wife Jane for a quarter of a century.

The Briggs bought Vine Cottage, three years before he decided to set up his own business.Although he and Jane are downsizing on the domestic front, Nigel has no plans to retire. It’s business as usual at Briggs & Co as it is for Jane, a freelance interior stylist with an international clientele. Her clients nearer to home include upmarket housebuilder Millgate Homes and super smart interior designer Alexander James.

Nigel’s contacts in the country house market are second to none. His office in the Old Town is a local landmark.

In the 1800s it was the Town Lock Up where ne’er-do-wells who’d appeared before the beak at the courtroom in the parlour of the Saracens Head pub opposite were sent to reflect on the error of their ways.

The lock up became surplus to requirements after the new police station in the Old Town was built in 1870. Initially it was turned into a warehouse for the local grocer.

When the shopkeeper made alternative arrangements it was transformed into a meeting place for the Girl Guides, then it became the estate office for the Hall Barn Estate and that’s still the address, despite being the prestigious office of a highly regarded local estate agent since January 1 2008. Meanwhile - to bring the Briggs story up to date – the family home in Cookham (pictured) is on the market for £1.385m.

It has three double bedrooms, refitted bathroom, drawing room and a remodelled kitchen/dining/family room opening onto Jane’s beautiful part-walled garden.

The Briggs have applied for permission to build a couple more bedrooms and a second bathroom to provide scope for new owners to put their mark on a house that’s been part of the landscape at the top end of the High Street in Cookham for generations.

Cookham’s world famous artist Stanley Spencer would have known previous owners of Vine Cottage. He lived in the family home opposite, Fernlea.

It was built by his grandfather, Julius Spencer.

The neighbouring Stanley Spencer art gallery housed in a Wesleyan Chapel is open from 10.30-5.30 everyday during the summer. The current exhibition of more than 100 paintings by Spencer and his contemporaries runs until November 3.