Alistair Appleton helps a young couple whose budget extends to £450,000 seek a home. Will a Georgian former flax mill with a medieval chapel do?
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"Everywhere peace, everywhere serenity."
Those words are as true today as they were 800 years ago
when written about this spot.
It was so beautiful that 12 monks chose it to form the first and one of the wealthiest monasteries
in the north of England. Find out where I am in just a moment on Escape to the Country.
On today's show, I'll be helping a couple head hundreds of miles north
to find their first home in the country.
But getting them to agree may be a challenge!
-I'm just not getting that feeling.
-I actually quite like this.
Tell me you want a guest wing.
-We want a guest wing!
And will our mystery property divide or unite them?
We're in North Yorkshire and this is the magnificent Rievaulx Abbey
which was formed by 12 monks in 1132,
but really, it was the third abbot Aelred who turned its fortunes around.
He was a bit of a superstar monk with spiritual charisma and business acumen.
He turned it into one of the wealthiest monastic institutions in the north of England,
only to have it demolished, stone by stone, by Henry VIII's men in the Reformation.
Still, they did leave these rather romantic ruins to remind us of the past.
Dubbed "God's own county",
Yorkshire was formally split into four counties in 1974,
with North Yorkshire, bordering Cumbria and Lancashire taking the lion's share.
Along with a wealth of monastic ruins, the county as a rich geological bedrock
typified by its limestone scars and yawning crags
as found at the spectacular Malham Cove formed at the end of the last ice age
and spanning 300 metres.
Although mining and quarrying have made their mark on the landscape,
40 per cent of the county falls within two national parks -
the rugged North York Moors, and the Dales.
This county has a long-standing farming heritage
which has brought prosperity to local market towns such as Skipton.
Its industries have had a strong influence on the local architecture
from limestone workers' cottages to impressive farmhouses.
If you put the average price of property in North Yorkshire and the surrounding counties in a basket
and find the average, North Yorkshire is 22% more expensive than its neighbours.
That's not all. Harrogate in North Yorkshire is 80% more expensive!
The average price of a detached house there is £400,000.
So if you're on a tight budget, look elsewhere in the county.
But luckily there are properties on the market to suit every budget.
For £260,000, this three-bed stone cottage in Greenhow Hill
has a cosy living room and sits on a prime spot with spectacular views
This double-fronted Grade II listed house in Howsham could be yours for £495,000.
The period range and exposed beams give the kitchen a warm, rustic feel
and the understated Georgian grandeur runs throughout the sitting room and master,
one of three bedrooms.
£695,000 will buy you this beautiful five-bed Grade II listed property in East Marton,
with its impressive inglenook fireplace and range lending a country feel
to its light and spacious interior.
There are plenty of delightful entertaining spaces to be found in the gardens.
Up hill and down dale, North Yorkshire certainly has a lot on offer
which is why our couple today want to move here.
Martin, a quality surveyor,
and Hannah, a resource manager,
have only been living in their three-bed terrace in Wokingham for a couple of years.
But in the past few months, they've both been seeking out work transfers to the north
in a bid to transform their lifestyle.
I'm really tired of the commute into London.
I'm ready to be able to have a more relaxed lifestyle
where I can enjoy my evenings and not get back really late.
We just don't have time to go out and enjoy what we have around us.
At present, we're in that suburban lifestyle
so we need to make the next step.
They may be looking for rural, but definitely not remote.
We will both be working in Leeds so we need to be commutable into Leeds.
Preferably within one hour commute.
Ideally we'd be on the edge of a village to give us the land we're looking for.
But still with the opportunity for us to walk into the local pub,
become part of the community which is centred around that.
So, what's the vision of their perfect house?
The ideal property for us would be the traditional country farmhouse.
We're looking for a detached property with three bedrooms.
What's really important is a nice large kitchen or kitchen/diner.
This is obviously a new property. There aren't any character features.
We've got the exposed beams here, but there's nothing else.
Ideally, we'd like somewhere with a nice open fireplace
and big oak beams throughout the property.
But it's the land that's going to swing it.
In the last few years, we've been growing vegetables.
As you can see, we've grown our sweetcorn, beans, peas.
Onions and potatoes.
The outside is important to us.
Obviously, the ideal would be around two to three acres.
But that might not be realistic.
But as long as we do have enough room to grow our own vegetables again,
and maybe introduce chickens, sheep, pigs. Just on a small scale.
Guys, I hope you're ready to compromise on that house/land request.
We'd definitely consider a potential project.
If the land was right and the property needed a lot of work doing to it,
and it was under budget.
I don't mind having a semi-detached property
but then I think, "How can I have all the land I want and not be overlooked
"by being connected to somebody?"
-I think you've realised I'm right.
Obviously that always happens!
But I have to say, if you're saying no to semi-detached,
I'm saying no to bungalows!
As they plan to put their house on the market in the next few weeks,
we arranged for a local estate agent to give them a valuation.
This is a good-sized three-bed detached family home
with an excellent school catchment and great commuter links to London.
I value this property at £320,000.
The valuation was around what I was expecting.
We're looking to spend, at the very top end, £450,000.
What Martin and Hannah want is do-able.
They want big rooms, three bedrooms, an acre of land.
But where they want it is much more problematic.
They want to live in that most premium stretch of the Dales.
Not too far north, not too close to Leeds, where everyone else wants to live!
The area around Harrogate has 28,000 people who commute into Leeds.
So it's very oversubscribed.
They have a budget of £450,000, so - you've guessed it - they'll have to compromise!
Hannah would like to focus her search on the Dales or the rural commuter belt of Leeds.
But this is an expensive area.
So we'll be casting our net wide to show them the best they can get for their budget.
I'll be showing them three impressive properties,
but won't reveal the price tag of each until they've guessed first.
Lastly, our mystery house delivers huge historic riches,
but with compromise attached.
Welcome to North Yorkshire!
-Doesn't it look nice?
-The Dales are quite distant on the horizon, ideally where you'd like to be near.
Which is my first dilemma.
Because you've got a budget of how much?
-Absolutely maximum is 450,000.
-That's the pain limit.
It is. Ideally around 400,000 would be the perfect situation for us.
As I see it, there's a triangle of compromise.
You want land, a nice house, but also to be close to Leeds.
So where on that triangle would the compromise be?
For me it would be location and proximity to Leeds.
Surprisingly, I'd still say I'd compromise on the journey.
-If the location was perfect.
-We have found some lovely properties.
As I say, some compromise in your thinking is necessary.
-But I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. Shall we go?
For a top budget of £450,000,
Martin and Hannah are happy to put some work into creating their ideal property.
Ideally more for Martin to dabble in a spot of self-sufficiency.
Obviously this is a big move for you.
It's the first time of buying together.
But is it also a move where you're planning for little Hannahs and little Martins?
Yes, I think we see this as somewhere we'll be for maybe the next ten years.
-So it's potentially got to be big enough for children.
-Something to grow into.
It's not just a move. Things may change in the next ten, 20 years, so that as well.
Children! That's what you're talking about, isn't it?
I just can't get that word out!
We kick off our property search in the village of Cold Kirby,
just over an hour's drive from Leeds.
With all the amenities they could ask for 15 minutes away in Thirsk.
Thirsk is a historic market town that gained literary fame
as the fictional setting of James Herriot's Darrowby.
Back in Cold Kirby and set in the splendour of the North York Moors
I hope this stone-built detached cottage will fit the bill for house and land.
This is the front garden.
-This is the house I want to show you.
-Very good first impressions.
Parts of it are from the 18th century
but this was rebuilt in about 1850.
-So a good period property.
Really pleasantly surprised. I think it's really nice.
That's a good positive first reaction,
but let's see if there's the right kind of rustic character inside.
This is the snug.
-This would have been the oldest part of the house.
It's quite full of stuff, but if you can think all that away
-it's not a bad-sized room.
-The ceilings aren't too low.
-No. Good proportion.
Lovely fireplace with the original stone lintel.
Beautiful. Really nice.
-Perfect for us.
-This is the smallest of the receptions. Come through to the next.
-This is a through room. They use it as a dining room.
And this is the main sitting room.
-This is an extension they put on 20 years ago.
So this is obviously bigger and brighter. Triple aspect.
-Yes. Nice views out of the windows.
Yeah, I'm taking it all in at the moment.
-You're surprising me, Alistair.
-In a pleasant way.
And leading off the through room,
we're ramping up the rustic feel.
Now, this is your kitchen.
-Ooh. Very, very nice.
-Very, very country.
-Lots of lovely worktops.
-And what a sink!
-It's not massive, but totally in keeping with the proportions of the house.
-Absolutely. I love this truss. You've got me a bit.
It's how I imagined my kitchen to look.
-Ah, that's great!
-Yeah. It's really lovely.
-Has your pulse rate gone up?
-A little bit! I'm trying to control myself a bit!
It doesn't end there. There's a handy utility area and cloakroom.
Downstairs seems to have really hit the right note when it comes to character and space.
There's one more surprise in store for later. Upstairs,
are two bedrooms, one a lovely light double with built-in storage,
and the family bathroom is next door.
But what about the bedroom that could be theirs?
-This is being used as the master bedroom.
It's smaller than I was hoping for, but nice views with that big window.
In terms of the desperate need for a third bedroom, how important is it?
We have a three-bed house now and it's very handy when we get people round.
Just having that one extra bedroom could be a bit of a problem.
-Tell me you want a guest wing.
-We want a guest wing!
Of course we're giving them the three bedrooms they asked for.
It's on the other side of the kitchen, as part of a creatively-converted annexe.
-Wow! Oh, gosh!
This is a self-contained holiday-let they've had built on. This was the shed. That was the shed.
So they got planning for this in the last six years.
-So there is leeway.
They charge £25 a night per person.
-So on quiet nights, if you wanted to, you could rent it out.
-Yes. Good feel to this, isn't it?
Then from here, out into the garden.
The house appears to have the rooms and character feel they were after.
But can the outside deliver on land?
-A great workshop here. Little French doors out into your veggie patch.
Then this is your garden.
-A little walled garden at the back.
-No, but bigger than what we've got at the moment.
The workshop helps as well.
Stunning views. Absolutely nothing to spoil them as it's National Park so no building here.
This field, is that owned by the local farmer as well?
Yes. If this is not enough space for you, this field was rented to the previous owners.
They rented it six or seven years ago for £100 a year!
-So that's, you know, a good deal.
how much do you think this is on the market for?
I would imagine it's around the 400,000.
Is that imagining or wishful thinking?
Probably wishful thinking!
-I'm going to say 380,000.
-So you're both wrong.
Both very optimistic.
-It's on the market for 425.
-But it seems to offer everything you want.
It's not more than an hour and ten minutes from Leeds.
If you think outside the box, it's added a lot of things that you want.
Yes. I'm very pleasantly surprised by this house.
-Walk around inside and I'll see you out front.
Within budget at £425,000,
you couldn't get more country than this spacious period cottage.
It's located within the North York Moors and within commuting distance from Leeds.
Pleasantly surprised by the views. I love the garden, the look of the house.
The feel of it, though, is a little bit too disjointed for me
and the feel between the kitchen into the garden, that's quite important to me
and I don't feel we get that.
It's a lovely kitchen, you can see out into the garden, but the dining area is quite separate.
-There's no interaction.
-Um, yeah, OK.
-I don't have that same issue.
-You're just overwhelmed by the kitchen.
I really think this is kind of sweet.
I really like the house. It's the first house I've seen where I've really felt there's enough room.
The kitchen has all the features we like. The lovely woodburners.
The one thing I just think in the back of my head is, it's not the Dales.
But I appreciate that our budget won't really accommodate that.
So it's just something I need to get my head around,
personally, and just realise there's maybe life outside of the Dales!
Hi, guys. All ready?
-Hold your thoughts. We'll press on.
The Dales landscape is a defining feature of the North Yorkshire region,
typified by its dry stone walls and lush green valleys.
Although agriculture has played a vital role on these slopes over the centuries,
the 1800s brought an industrial boom
with the onset of lead mining, stone quarrying and flax spinning.
Tucked away in the Nidderdale Valley, Pateley Bridge is a prime example
of a rural market town that grew to accommodate the influx of workers during the Victorian era.
Earlier in the week, Martin and Hannah met Eileen Burgess
who has been a resident here for over 50 years.
With industrial expansion came the need for more water to supply the mills of Bradford.
Nidderdale was chosen as the site for the Scar House reservoir,
built between 1922 and 1932.
It seems that those involved with this feat of engineering
were well looked after.
To house the workers, they built a whole village up here.
Round here were bungalows
for the people like the tradesmen -
the joiners, the foremen,
and the officials.
And they had shops
further on here.
They had a canteen, a church, a hospital, a school,
everything you can think of. And a cinema.
And the people who lived here...
..thought it was the best time of their lives.
In spite of these surges of industrial activity,
sheep farming has remained a constant.
Native breeds, such as the Wensleydale Long Wool,
are alive and well thanks to farmers like Mark Elliot
who's the third generation in his family to rear them,
winning 20 Supreme Championships at the Great Yorkshire Show.
As Hannah and Martin hope to keep livestock,
they went to meet him and his 24 prize-winning pedigrees.
The particular thing about the breed that's really special
is the quality of the wool.
It's the finest lustre long wool in the world
and designers and people who want to make things out of the wool
go absolutely crazy for the quality of the cloth and the yarn that it makes.
So you make more money from the wool than the meat?
Well, it's good meat to eat.
But it is the wool that's the real selling point of the breed.
What impact have the sheep had on the Dales?
If the sheep weren't there grazing, it would become overgrown with scrub and bushes.
All the beautiful views that people come to Wensleydale and Nidderdale,
none of those would exist.
It's sheep that make the Dales look as beautiful as they are.
Although man has mined the Dales for its rich natural resources,
preserving the age-old farming practices
is an important and sustainable way of managing this timeless landscape.
For our second property, we've managed to move Hannah into Dales territory
to Leyburn, an hour and a quarter from Leeds,
a commute they said they'd be happy to consider.
Along with amenities, this lively market town is full of robust Yorkshire stone buildings
as we find in the surrounding countryside with this barn conversion.
-This is the property I want to show you.
It's a barn conversion. It was a 100-year-old barn
and six years ago they converted it.
The owner's been there three years and done a lot of work inside.
-Should be nice and spacious as a barn conversion.
If the interior of the first house offered up quirky cottage charm for Hannah,
I think this one's definitely more Martin's cup of tea.
-Straight into the kitchen.
You said the layout of the last house was complicated. This one's very simple!
It's a bit more modern... Just a bit newer, I suppose, than I'm used to.
I like the beams through it, but it lacks the charm of the last property that I really liked.
But probably you prefer it because it's bigger and more open?
Yeah, as a kitchen/diner it feels a bit better than the last house.
As you say, it's got that new feel to it.
But it is a very functional space.
And there are plans to extend it by another seven foot, so it would add more space at that end.
Let's look next door.
Here's your sitting room.
And dining room, in fact.
Oh, right. OK.
I like that. It's a nice entertaining area.
What happened was, this used to be a separate room.
This was the third bedroom.
The present owners split it in two. There's a little study next door
with computer stuff and then she made this her dining area.
Yes, that's got a nice cosy snug feel to it.
-Lovely oak details she put in, these beams.
-And here you have French doors out into the garden.
-And a colossal log burner.
-I actually quite like this.
but I like the way you've got the room that goes out into the garden
and I like the way the dining table is set back.
My only concern, as I say, is the size of it.
And it'll be fine for us at the moment
but looking forward, how that would then fit our requirements...
He's desperate for children!
Well, there are some space solutions tucked away in the two bedrooms upstairs.
-Yep, reasonable size.
-Good, high ceilings, for a barn.
An interesting feature here is that they've used the spaces - there's a lot of space in there.
-Oh, crikey, yes.
-You can get a little desk in there if you wanted.
-Lots and lots of storage.
-I like it, but again, size is probably an issue.
Well, the master bedroom, which is this one,
it has these big tall hanging wardrobes.
-So it's very ergonomic as a house.
Indeed, yeah. I've got to get my head around how I would make it look.
It's quite neutral and quite plain so I'd try and add some character somehow.
The last house was chocker-block with character. You loved that.
-You didn't like it so much. This one is quite neutral.
-I quite like this house
but again, on the small side.
-Well, the bathroom is very big.
The bathroom is almost twice the size of the bedroom!
Interesting. It's a really nice size.
-I like the floor.
-As you say, it's about the same size as the bedroom.
It's interesting to see how we're warming to different things.
But I don't... I never trust what I think, really,
so I don't know if I'm ruling it out unreasonably.
I'm just not getting that feeling.
That may be, Hannah, but the interior of this barn is impeccable
and in keeping with the character of the property.
Perhaps what's on offer outside will bring her round.
-Nice patio here.
You can see this is the garden, this fenced area round here.
-And then you own this paddock from the driveway all the way down to the wall there.
-The fence and the wall.
There's just over an acre, I'd say.
That's a really good piece of land, that is.
-Perfect size, really.
-How much do you think the house costs?
-I think it's about 390.
-I'll have to say 395, then.
Actually, this property is on the market for £350,000.
-Quite a surprise.
-Quite considerably lower than we thought.
That's 50 grand to spend on... What would you spend it on?
-Possibly the extension.
-You can see what the extension would be.
It would be squaring off the corner of this property.
They did get an estimate of about £8,000.
Walk around, explore the land.
Have a look inside again
and see if that extension might work for you.
Then we'll see where we go from there.
Under budget at £350,000,
this tasteful barn conversion
has the land and leaves them a £50,000 pot to extend the property as they see fit.
All set on the edge of Wensleydale,
with an hour and a quarter's commute to Leeds.
I'm not feeling this one as much as the other.
I am up for a barn conversion, but this one feels a bit too small
and not all the bedrooms we're looking for. So I'm not feeling it, but I love the land.
It's exactly what we want. It's a reality check to know that, you know,
we can't necessarily have all this land and the perfect house.
First impressions of this house are good.
The views down Wensleydale are fantastic.
The house itself is a little bit on the small side.
But with the extra money we've got,
if there was 50,000 added on to the house, it would be really good.
-Yeah. We'll see how it works out.
-Plenty to talk about.
As the sun sets over the Yorkshire countryside,
it marks the end of the first day of our property search.
With their £450,000 budget,
Hannah and Martin want to ditch their long commutes into London
and carve out a rural existence in North Yorkshire.
The two properties we've seen so far have split opinion.
But coming up, is there any hope that joined-up thinking will prevail with our mystery house?
Hello! Welcome to my new home!
Ah, the lady of the manor!
And I get a personal insight into how this majestic house
has withstood the threat of centuries of devastation and neglect.
We're going to look at the mystery house. What do you think it might involve?
It could possibly be something like a derelict barn to re-do from scratch.
Or possibly a semi-detached property.
Yeah, maybe one of those two.
Our mystery property takes us to Silsden,
south of their ideal search area,
but closer to Leeds, which they can get to in half an hour.
Yorkshire character is alive and well in the village,
with independent shops and impressively sturdy architecture
as we find out with our mystery house, which is semi-detached,
one of Martin's definite no-nos.
-Here's the mystery house.
-It's really lovely.
-I'll try not to look at that house there! But this one here is wonderful.
-Part of the mystery is that it's an attached property.
It's an historical property. It's in two parts. This bit here is medieval.
It was a chapel of eves, where the monks going from Bolton to Skipton had a kip!
So it's a one-up, one-down.
This is a Georgian extension. Much later, much more substantial house.
It was part of a flax mill, they believed.
-So quite a wealthy owner. They say they made the flax that made the sails
-for Nelson's flagship Victory.
-A lot of history.
In fact, it's of such historical importance,
that while the Georgian part is Grade II listed,
the original chapel has Grade II* status.
Let's hope what they see inside doesn't faze them.
Come on in.
Come into your little slice of history.
Very, very nice.
-It's amazing. I love it.
-I tend to agree. Yes.
This is a fascinating bit of history.
When they moved in here, 40 years ago, it was a complete wreck.
No running water, no electricity.
All this was boarded up.
They uncovered this to reveal this stone spiral staircase,
and this, which is a medieval altar.
So when the monks came, this is where they'd have had their services.
This is what gives it the star listing. This, the stone staircase and the mullion windows.
Absolutely. It's definitely what is currently selling it to me.
I agree. It definitely feels right at the moment.
-Where's the next room?
-Next room? Impatient?
So we're going to jump ahead...
..into the Georgian period.
-Good sized windows.
-These were the originals.
You can see how wealthy the owner must have been because sash windows were very expensive
with the beautiful casements.
Bring in loads of nice light and a spacious feel to this room. Really nice.
-Very impressive fireplace.
-It's a good inglenook.
-Does it flow OK?
-We shall see!
-Depends where those doors go.
-Did we flow well from the kitchen into here?
OK. You're answering for him, now!
That's where it all went wrong yesterday!
Let's flow into the next room.
Flowing, flowing, flowing!
-This is where you'd probably want to do some structural work.
So this would have been the hall, coming through the front door?
This is the front door. This would have been the grand entrance.
The thing is, you've got this big downstairs bathroom now.
-What you could do is somehow open that space up.
And maybe even move the kitchen down this end.
-So you'd have a huge kitchen...
-And have that as the snug.
I think we're looking for somewhere long term.
So in three, maybe four years, when we've got the finances,
then we could look to changing it around a bit.
-I think it's exciting.
-It's really exciting. Absolutely.
Upstairs, there's proof that a bit of project vision pays off.
-Brilliant. Lovely views out the window.
-Needs redecorating, obviously.
But I wanted to show it to you because it's a spectacularly sized bedroom.
A fireplace as well. Great.
They've just discovered this. They were redecorating and it was all boarded up.
-It was bricked up. They've taken the bricks out and you have a lovely surround.
-Lovely. Really nice.
In the oldest part of the property, there's another double
with the original mullioned windows.
Next door to which is the family bathroom
another decorating project.
There's plenty of potential in the third bedroom.
-So this is the other master bedroom.
-A bit bigger, or maybe just longer.
You've got the storage in here as well.
-Same beautiful views.
Good. Let's continue.
Despite being semi-detached, it looks like our mystery house may have brought house-hunting harmony.
Along with historic character for Hannah and "good flow" for Martin,
there's scope to put their collective mark on it.
Away from the well-tended gardens by the house,
the one acre of land is overgrown and needs some love and care.
But it's worth rolling up your sleeves for these stunning Dales views.
Question is, at what cost, given it's semi-detached?
What do you think this project is on the market for?
I'm going to go for 455,000.
Again, top end, but I'd say 450.
You're spot on. It's on the market for 450.
But it's been on the market for two years.
I thought you'd say it's been up for about a week and we'd have to rush!
On the market for two years and the owners are very ready now to sell.
-It would be living there, living the dream, I think.
-And 30 minutes from Leeds.
-The icing on the cake.
That makes me feel happy.
Explore. Fight your way back to the house.
-I'll see you up front.
That's so nice, because I do think this project has their name written all over it.
They can move straight in and in six months, a year, five years,
there's always something exciting to do.
And that is what makes it a great mystery house.
Priced at £450,000 and right at the top end of their budget,
our mystery semi-detached house is a real historic gem
which comes with obvious responsibilities.
But it gives them scope for projects.
The mystery property, fantastic.
The structure of the building was great.
It gives us all the features we're looking for and the space as well.
And it also gives us that ability to make it what we want as well.
Slight concerns about it being a semi-detached.
But I feel quite secluded here.
I don't think that will be too much of a problem.
I absolutely love it. I think it's the best house I've ever seen.
I just feel so at home.
There's so much space.
And you can tell both of us really like it.
I think we're both on the same page and we're both at home in this house.
I'm very excited about it.
Hello! Welcome to my new home!
Ah, lady of the manor!
You have to leave "your" house, and we'll discuss all the houses.
North Yorkshire's dramatic landscape is home to a number of medieval architectural treasures,
despite Henry VIII's destructive hand during the Reformation
and the eviction of wealthy Catholic families from their households.
Markenfield Hall, three miles from Ripon,
is a remarkable survivor of this turbulent period in England's history.
I was lucky enough to meet Ian Curtis, who's agreed to show me round
this unique historic building that he calls home.
What an amazing, amazing property!
It is the most unspoiled early 14th-century house in England.
It has been largely unchanged since the 14th century
so that if the builder, John De Markenfield,
who built it in 1310 went through the gateway into the courtyard, he'd recognise what he saw.
How did it survive? So many of them were altered beyond recognition in their history.
Yes. I think it survived for two reasons.
One is that the Markenfield family who built it
were leaders of the Rising of the North, the Catholic rising against Queen Elizabeth, and were evicted.
And then it became a tenanted farm with an absentee landlord.
The farmers had no interest and no money, really, to alter it in any way.
-So poverty and catastrophe saved the building.
-Saved the building.
And inside, the original fabric is impressively intact.
There's the great fireplace and the vaulted ceilings of the undercroft,
and this upstairs room, the real centrepiece.
This is amazing, Ian!
Tell me all about this. This is the Great Hall.
This is the Great Hall, where the family would have assembled formally
twice a day for formal meals.
This continued until 1569
when the family were kicked out.
And it became a grain store.
-A grain store?!
-A very, very bare room it became
until five or six years ago when we decided to turn it back into a family living room and library.
The adjoining chapel is where Ian and Lady Deirdre married,
the first recorded wedding since 1487!
These days, it's a welcoming place of worship.
It is a Catholic chapel at which we Anglicans also worship.
The services are alternate, roughly once a fortnight.
And it's very popular. Although we're the smallest parish in the north of England -
population four - you are currently being addressed by 25% of the population!
We get a packed chapel because people love coming here.
I think their imagination is taken particularly in these ecumenical times
by the fact that the two churches share an old building together.
It's a wonderful space. It's quite austere. It's not very fancy,
but it has a great feeling of peace to it.
Markenfield Hall may be an intimate family home today,
but it's also a fantastic monument that over its 700-year lifetime
has borne witness to key chapters that have changed the course of English history.
Thing about North Yorkshire, they know how to build good bridges.
So let's find out whether Hannah and Martin know how to pick good properties!
North Yorkshire. What are your feelings about North Yorkshire generally? Not put off?
No, not at all. Definitely the place we want to be.
Let's spin back to the first house.
It was up near the Moors. A very lovely property.
For me, from the outside, absolutely beautiful.
Lovely gardens. I really liked the rooms and the way it was laid out.
But for me I think the concern was I'd always be thinking, "I'm not in the Dales.
"I'm away from where I'd like to be." So that's why it was a no for me in the end.
You wrinkled your nose when Hannah said she liked the layout.
-That was a deal breaker.
-It was. Beautiful looking from outside.
But the house didn't work for me. It was the layout.
What about the second house, the barn conversion?
It really didn't do it for me.
It didn't have any scope for doing anything to it, apart from the extension. The land was nice.
But a no from me for the second property.
You were more won over by the barn conversion?
I quite liked it. I quite liked the way the rooms flowed together.
The views were again, fantastic.
But it was just too small for us.
The mystery house was a gamble because it was way out of your area. Not where you were looking.
And it was attached. It seemed to score high points!
Yeah, I'd always ruled out houses from that area because it was too close to Leeds
and maybe too towny. But it's really beautiful once you get up there.
But the house and the land ticked all the boxes.
All the rooms were really nice and spacious.
The features with the woodburners and the beams and the fireplace was all really good.
The house itself felt really good.
It did give us some scope to introduce our own feel to it.
Obviously when we have the budget for it.
But it was something we could grow into. The land was there.
I think it would have been quite exciting for us to get involved and clear the land, do the house.
So we'd feel part of that house.
The only down point, really, being semi-detached.
What's the plan? What's going to happen next?
We'll definitely have another look round the mystery property before we go home.
We'll try and get a builder round to give us a few quotes as to what we can do.
Just to give us some idea of budget.
But the mystery property was the one for us, I think.
So the mystery house came up trumps. Great.
I'm impartial, but I think that property has your names written all over it.
-I hope it works out.
-It's great to have found it. Really lovely.
I thought this was going to be a knuckle-buster of a show,
grappling with the triangle and the square of compromise, but it all worked out just fine.
We did a good job finding properties outside their search area but with long-term potential.
They did a good job falling in love with the mystery house.
If you'd like to see us grapple with more geometry of compromise,
then join us next time on Escape to the Country.
If you want to escape to the country in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland or England,
and would like our help, please apply online:
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Alistair Appleton helps a young North Yorkshire couple whose budget extends to £450,000 seek a home. The task proves hard work, with the couple having very different tastes, but will they agree on a Georgian former flax mill with a medieval chapel?