Detached partly converted Victorian chapel in quaint Hampshire village goes to auction for 25% less than it sold for in 2018; it seems like a bargain, but there is, of course, a “but”…
Vernham Dean – also known as Vernhams Dean – is a quaint village in the Test Valley in Hampshire. Nine miles south of Hungerford, Berkshire, it is best known for its well thought of pub, The George, and was the place name the controversial ex-Labour minister of state for the Middle East Elizabeth Symonds added to her name when she became Baroness Synmonds PC of Vernham Dean in October 1996.
Given its sought after situation, news that a detached, freehold 562 square foot Victorian chapel is to be auctioned this week by Savills for just £75,000 initially seems surprising, but, as is often the way with “auction bargains,” comes with a number of catches.
Opened originally as a chapel in October 1845 seating 108 with standing room for 12, the current structure served as a chapel from 1869 onwards. Closed for worship now for a number of years, the building was sold at auction in 2017 for an undisclosed sum and then for £99,000 a year later.
In the years that followed subsequent owners have attempted to convert the building into first a two-bedroom and then a one-bedroom dwelling whilst various villagers repeatedly objected. It is now described as being “in need of modernisation” but complete with “extensive plans and reports… for change of use to a residential dwelling.”
Curiously, during the Black Death in 1665, the village’s then pastor is said to have fled leaving his villagers to die. His “guilt ridden ghost” reportedly still to this day haunts the Chute Causeway, a Roman road that runs from Winchester to Cirencester, but whether the Primitive Methodist Chapel is haunted also is unknown.
The Names & Numbers – Vernham Dean Primitive Methodist Chapel, Back Lane, Vernham Dean, Andover, Test Valley District, Hampshire, SP11 0LE, United Kingdom
- 2nd March 2021 – To be offered for sale at auction for £75,000 ($104,000, €87,000 or درهم384,000) by Savills, a sum 32% lower than the last asking price and 25% lower than the 2018 sale price.
- 10th February 2021 – Offered for sale at auction for £110,000+ ($153,000, €127,000 or درهم563,000) by Auction House London.
- December 2019 – New plans were submitted to convert the building according to the Andover Advertiser. They reported that the application stated: “The property is in shell condition and requires a full programme of works. It has electricity and water supplies. The property is situated in the heart of the picturesque area of Vernham Dean in Andover close to local amenities. There is pedestrian access to the left-hand side of the property but it is possible to park at the front of the chapel.”
- August 2019 – Then owner Gurdarshan Mandan told the Andover Advertiser: “We want to live there peacefully and we really don’t want to upset anyone, after all we all are neighbours and want to create a peaceful environment” after many Vernham Dean residents objected to his and his wife’s plans to first turn the building into a two-bedroom and then a one-bedroom residence.
- 11th April 2018 – Sold for £99,000 ($138,000, €114,000 or درهم506,000) by Auction House London.
- 13th December 2017 – “Sold after auction for an undisclosed amount” by Auction House London.