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Historic Wymondham home closer to restoration final

PUBLISHED: 08:02 11 August 2010 | UPDATED: 11:35 16 September 2010

Judges(l to r) Quentin Jackson-Strops, Will Palin and John Goodall from Country Life magazine visit the restored Cavick House in Wymondham which is a finalist in thier competition for the best restoration project from the last 10 years.

Judges(l to r) Quentin Jackson-Strops, Will Palin and John Goodall from Country Life magazine visit the restored Cavick House in Wymondham which is a finalist in thier competition for the best restoration project from the last 10 years.

Owners of a lovingly restored Queen Anne house who have worked for a decade to bring the building back from the brink of disrepair are one step closer to being crowned the winners of a national heritage competition.

Owners of a lovingly restored Queen Anne house who have worked for a decade to bring the building back from the brink of disrepair are one step closer to being crowned the winners of a national heritage competition.

Experts from the world of architecture and heritage gathered at Cavick House, near Wymondham, yesterday in the latest round of judging for Country Life magazine's Restoration of the Century Award. The Grade I listed home was a forgotten historical gem, left empty for five years with the threat of being placed on the Buildings at Risk Register.

Not only did it need a mammoth interior redecoration, but essential works including the updating of the sewage system, replacing the plumbing, installing heating, rewiring the building and replastering the rooms all needed to be undertaken.

Now, after more than 10 years of sensitive restoration by owners Christopher and Judith Lawrence, the once sorry building has been transformed into a beautiful eight-bedroom family home with many of its original features still intact.

It is one of three buildings in the Eastern region and the only one in Norfolk to make the regional shortlist of the competition, run in association with estate agents Jackson-Stops and Staff. The winners from each of the five regions will be announced this autumn, with the judges' choosing an overall favourite from these.

Judge William Palin, who is secretary of campaign group Save Britain's Heritage, said: “It's such a dream house. This period of red brick house is so attractive, and looking back at the house before the present owners bought it you can see they've done a huge amount of work but very sensitively, with a great deal of respect for the house. That's the reason why it's been a great success.”

It is believed a house has stood at the site since the 12th century, but the core structure of the home seen today was built about 1650. From the 1700s, successive owners continued to extend the property until the end of the 19th century.

When the previous owner died in 1993 it was passed to the Diocese of Norwich, who eventually put it on the market after struggling to find a use of the building due to its protected status.

John Goodall, architectural editor at Country Life, applauded those who take on the challenge of restoring the country's neglected buildings.

“This competition deliberately tried to embrace all types of buildings. It is our historical inheritance and it's important it remains living, understood and loved,” he said.

Mr and Mrs Lawrence said it was “wonderful” to hear such positive comments on their achievements.

“I've got used to living here and forgot that other people see it so enthusiastically. Not that we don't, but it's encouraging to have good feedback,” said Mrs Lawrence.

Mr Lawrence added: “It would be lovely if we were to win. It would be great for us but great for the people who did the work on the house and I think it would be great for Wymondham.”

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