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The old girl is on the move

Jude Clark with the old Abbeyfield House behind. PHOTO/FILE

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Abbeyfield House has been sold and is being sliced up into five pieces to be carried off Church St, Masterton, by May next year.

The move is a type of retirement for the old girl, and she hopes to find a quiet meadow on the fringes of Masterton and be put out to pasture.

But it should be a very glamorous retirement because her new owners have a penchant for “doing up” old wooden houses.

They own the renovating company Rare Buildings.

The 144-year-old, two-storey, 280m2 former St Matthew’s church vicarage on Church St was sold in October by real estate agent for Ray White Leaders Masterton Jude Clark.

Abbeyfield House comprises buildings from three eras – the manse dating back to 1876, with additions in the 1950s and 1995.

New owner Chessa Stevens said because she and her partner and business partner Rob Tilbrook brought knowledge about the complexities of moving a building to the conversation, it gave confidence to the current owners that the building would be moved properly and on time.

The pair was also very passionate about renovating old villas.

The 1867 building was no longer fit-for-purpose for the small retirement home, and Abbeyfield House had plans to build and extend what it had at the site.

Work would begin before the house removal.

But before it was moved, the new owners needed to find some land to put the huge two-storey house on.

At this stage, they intended to make it their residence.

“It is a heritage building, and because it was right in town, would suit being fairly close to the Masterton township,” Stevens said.

“We think the house would sit beautifully on about an acre.

“We are looking for a suitable setting and will act quickly when we find the right spot.”

The new owners intended to restore the cottage and were looking to separate the 1950s additions from the cottage.

Masterton District Council granted consent for its removal, but a condition was that it was relocated within the district because it was a heritage building.

The building needed to be removed from 39 Church St by May 2021 and before that the plumbing and wiring that ran from it to other parts of the Abbeyfield House complex needed to be detached and any remaining exposed areas sealed up.

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