The main house at Braziers is one of the few surviving examples of a Strawberry Hill Gothic style country house. Since 1985 it has been designated a Grade II* listed building. Only 4% of listed buildings have such a high status, with a further 1% being awarded Grade I status. Many of the outbuildings, those which lie within the curtilage of the main house, also have Grade II* status.
The unique character of the main house makes it an attractive and unusual location for film makers. In the past, episodes of “An Unusual Job for a Woman” and “Midsomer Murders” have been filmed here. Braziers welcomes enquiries by telephone (01491 680221) or e-mail about its use as a location for films and other purposes, such as fashion shoots.
The Jacobean farmhouse, which forms the core of the house, was extensively altered at the end of the 18th century to incorporate the newly fashionable Strawberry Hill Gothic style. An imposing front wing was added with a central entrance hall. The hall was flanked by a spacious drawing room with a fine moulded ceiling and an imposing dining room. The roof was castellated, pointed gothic windows installed and a turret added to give the effect of a small medieval castle. Braziers was considered to be a stylistic triumph and drawings of it were shown at the Royal Academy in 1799.
Additions and alterations continued throughout the 19th and into the 20th century. During the period the Flemings (Valentine Fleming, his wife and sons, authors Ian and Peter Fleming) occupied the house, a west wing – copying the 18th century gothic alterations – was added, the main staircase was moved and the dining room was panelled. Today the house has the same outward appearance, but some of the very large bedrooms have been modified to provide more single and twin rooms.
Maintaining a house of this historic importance is a major responsibility. In recent years the main roof has required a considerable amount of repair, much, but not all, of which has now been completed. Owing to its Grade II* status, all work of any significance has to have the approval of English Heritage, and on average repair work costs four times as much as for a non-listed building.
As well as repairs to the roof, the house was completely rewired at the end of the 1980s and modern fire precautions installed in 1992-3. This was a massive undertaking, costing over £300,000, and involving a full scale fire alarm system, emergency lights, partitions on the first floor and around the turret gallery, external fire escapes, fire doors and fireproof material inserted under the first and second floors. Most recently, the roof of the front loggia has been replaced.