A fine church conversion in the heart of Lanarkshire

The Old Church in Crawford, South Lanarkshire, is a fine example of a repurposed traditional building that has been successfully made into a characterful modern home. The former church sits on an escarpment overlooking a valley which is home to the upper reaches of the River Clyde.The property has uninterrupted views to the surrounding hills and while on the outside of the building has a sense of Gothic drama, the interior is modern and light-filled, and well designed for family life.The church was built in 1874 and converted in the 1990s.

The exterior is traditional. (Picture Turpie & Co).

Iain Holman and Petra Ross bought it ten years ago. The former was living in Edinburgh and working as a graphic designer, but the Crawford property offered a change of location, career and lifestyle.Iain explains: “Like many designers, I had an ambition to be a full-time artist. I paint figurative works and the house offered all the space and light I needed.” The entrance to the property is through a wooden porch that reflects the local architectural vernacular, and looks out across an open field to the landscape beyond.

The dining area (picture Turpie& Co)

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But it is on entering the main living space that you really get a sense of the building’s proportions. A high staircase leads to a mezzanine level above, and the space has stained glass windows, ceilings nine metres up and an impressive circular nave.The galleried landing that runs on two sides of the structure leads to the original rafters which sit on massive wooden corbels.The living space has been zoned to provide a relaxing sitting room area and a dining area, lit by velux windows in the roof. To the left is a fitted kitchen with its own stained-glass window.

The kitchen (Picture Turpie & Co).

The church has four bedrooms, one with an ensuite on the ground floor, three upstairs, one of which has a staircase leading to the top floor and another small bedroom, or study, with a window overlooking the interior of the property.Iain and Petra’s daughters, Isla who is seven and five-year-old Lena, use this as a secret playroom.

The master bedroom. (Picture Turpie & Co).

Iain says: “We aren’t sure of the date of the conversion, but we have spoken to locals who married here in the early 1990s.“We believe it was carried out by a local firm; they have done an impressive job with none of the compromises such as windows cut in half by floors that you sometimes see in church conversions.”

The sitting room with mezzanine above. (picture Turpie& Co)

When the couple bought the church, it was comfortable enough, but nevertheless they felt it still needed extensive work. They put in a new central heating system, a woodburner, new bathrooms and a kitchen and replaced all the flooring.Iain recalls: “Initially, the first two or three years, we did a lot of work, and redecorated throughout. The decor wasn’t great, there were thick bottle green carpets for example.”A dedicated studio, built by the couple in the courtyard, means that Iain has an easy commute of some six metres to his place of work.

The standalone studio. (Picture Turpie & Co).

The timber-clad structure has windows on all sides, including French doors, so it is a bright and inspiring space in which to house Iain’s art studio. It could also be used as a place for study or as a garden house. It is ully insulated and is wifi enabled.The home lies in the heart of Crawford, but the back of the property offers uninterrupted views of farmland, the Clyde and hills in the distance.The one-time church’s grounds are not huge but there are grassed areas where the girls play and the courtyard with ample parking.And what the former holy place does not have is a graveyard, which could be seen as an advantage if you are easily spooked. But buyers beware, Crawford is reputed to be one of the most haunted villages in Scotland.It is a rural setting – the nearest places of any substance are Moffat and Biggar – but the nearby A74 gives easy access to the Central Belt, Carlisle and the North of England.

The back of the church, with the adjacent studio.

Crawford has a brand-new primary school, which Iain and Petra’s girls attend, and the village has a great sense of community, but it is time for the family to move on.Iain says of the house:“It is not your standard semi-detached – it has grandeur on the outside but it is very homely. When guests come in to the main room, they are always wowed and want to explore, and fortunately the girls are always happy to show them round.”

Offers over £225,000. Selling agent Turpie and Co. on 01506 668448.

Related topics: