A LISTED farmhouse has undergone a huge restoration after becoming so dilapidated that part of it collapsed.

Pound Farm House in Main Road, Dovercourt, became controversial after years of neglect left it in danger of falling down completely.

It is thought theft of lead from the roof gully between the main house and an extension caused leaks and severe damage to the structure.

Major concerns were raised about its condition in 2011 after reports that part of the house, which was on the heritage at risk register, had collapsed.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

Owners John Humm and David Rutson were unable to even get into the Grade II listed house for two years after buying it due to safety fears.

But after seven years, the pair have celebrated its renovation.

Senior site manager Terry Welham said as many of the original features have been kept as possible, including original window shutters and wooden beams.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

  • Terry Welham, senior site manager, pointing out an original beam

A fireplace in the sitting room is still standing, despite the house’s former condition.

Mr Welham said: “It’s cost over £400,000 to do this.

“Because it is listed, we had to do things in a certain way, it has to be sympathetic.

“The end wall at the back, there was nothing useable.

“And when they took everything off it, the roof just fell down. Ninety-five per cent of the work has been done by local companies. All the doors and windows have been remade by a local man called Paul Johnson.”

Any missing or damaged windows and woodwork were remade to look exactly like the originals.

And while a fireplace downstairs was salvaged from the dilapidated former farmhouse and upstairs, an old timber roof beam was repurposed to create a mantlepiece over another.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

Terry added: “The timber came from the rotten roof.

“The roof was 400 years old, but the timber could be up to 1,500 years old. There is no proof, but they think the house could have been mentioned in the Domesday Book.”

Unique features of the house have been kept, including a short arched tunnel which leads to a downstairs WC, a rounded wall, and a sloped ceiling on the stairs to the attic rooms.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

  • Owners John Humm and David Rutson

Mr Rutson said: “It has taken seven years to get here, and five years of council red tape.”

Two open days have been held to show the listed building off to the public.

Entry was by a £1 donation to the Harwich and Dovercourt Rotary Club.

Mr Rutson said: “The response from the public has been quite overwhelming.

“Everyone says it’s marvellous.”