Once a seat of learning, Grade-II listed Carr Hall, near Whitby, is now a stylish family home, to which the current owners are saying a fond farewell. They spoke to Jenny Needham.

THE phrase “going back to school” has an entirely different meaning for the Harris children. Their most recent term there has lasted ten years!

They had been pupils at Carr Hall School during the early 1990s. When it closed, the impressive country house at Ruswarp, near Whitby, was converted into a prestigious country estate. In 2010, Anna and Peter Harris bought Carr Hall, the lion’s share of this mid-19th Century country property, and the family has lived there ever since.

“The fact we already had a history with Carr Hall was part of the attraction for us,” says Anna Harris. “We knew and loved the building and had many happy memories of their school days there. When the property first came to market, that’s why we were initially attracted to come and view.”

Carr Hall was first built as a farm in the 19th Century then gradually developed into the much grander house – conceived in the style of a French chateau – that it is today.

The school was the junior school to Sneaton Castle – which recently reopened as a wedding venue – and was run by the Order of the Holy Paraclete. The estate retains the use of extensive grounds and tennis court of the former school, which are enjoyed exclusively by residents.

When Anna and Peter first bought the house it had already been converted from a school into a home, retaining many attractive period features including original panelling and stunning decorative ceilings in both the formal and family living rooms.

“These are some of our favourite features at Carr Hall; without any adornment, the rooms would still be beautiful,” says Anna.

Designed, fitted and equipped to a superior standard throughout, it’s a remarkably stylish home arranged over four floors, successfully retaining the distinguished character of its age and status.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

“The entrance hall makes a wonderful dining hall for celebrations, while the dual aspect master bedroom has views of the stunning gardens,” says Anna. “It is very much a family home and no area is unused.”

Over the years they have owned this lovely Grade II listed property, the Harrises have carried out extensive re-decoration, remodelled some of the bedrooms and added a bathroom to the guest bedroom.

The cellar and laundry room offer copious space for storage, housing wine, freezers/fridges and heating systems, all tucked away from sight, yet immediately accessible.

Outside there’s an attractive patio and extensive grounds.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

When the couple originally bought the property, the garden was mainly used as a car park, but they have worked tirelessly to transform most of this into an ornate garden with a large York Stone patio area which is bathed in sun throughout the day and late into the evening. They completed the landscaping with the addition of ornamental fencing and gates by Godbold Blacksmiths, from nearby Egton, which define the perimeter of the hall.

“Even though our children were at university, they loved coming home to the hall; we’ve held many summer parties on the terrace and the sunsets in the Esk Valley are magnificent,” says Anna. “The house really comes into its own in winter, though. With woodburners and room for a 10ft tree, it’s always like a fairytale at Christmas.”

In 2012 a number of residents collectively purchased the land between Carr Hall Gardens and the road, ensuring no development would ever take place there. Since then, the land has been opened up to be enjoyed by the estate for walking and has played host to Bonfire Night and other celebrations.

It’s fair to say the Harrises have loved their extended ‘term’ at Carr Hall, but all the Harris children have their own homes now and Anna and Peter are leaving to downsize.

“We will be sad to go but have many, many memories of Carr Hall, from their schooldays to turning it into the beautiful home it is now,” says Anna. “We are staying in the area – we love Whitby – and hope that whoever buys the hall is as happy there as we have been.”

The new owner will inherit a stylish, characterful house with sunny patio, paddock and period details aplenty – a true rural retreat. What will be packed up and leaving with Peter and Anna, though, is their extensive wine collection. “But there’s more than enough space for the next owner to start a collection of their own,” says Anna, “perhaps with a bottle from our local Robin Hoods Bay vineyard!”

Carr Hall, Carr Hall Gardens, The Carrs, Ruswarp YO21 1RS.

The property is for sale with Blenkin and Co at a guide price of £995,000.