JAMES Bond's newest film premiered last night, so what better time than to dish out the archives and look inside this home in Bracknell owned by a James Bond movie stunt double.

If a house could speak, this 380-year-old Grade II listed Bracknell home would have volumes of stories to tell.

Over the years, Lynwood Cottage has been owned by a James Bond movie stunt double, a wealthy British diamond dealer, and members of the aristocracy.

The current custodians, as they call themselves, were so spellbound by its history and historical clues that they turned detective to uncover its history.

Lynwood Cottage is now a four-bedroomed house with a swimming pool, but its beginnings were much more modest.

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The property, part painted brick, part timber framed with painted brick infill, was built in around 1640 as a forester’s cottage believed to be on the Duke of Downshire’s country estate. It was constructed on the highest point in the area so that its inhabitants could watch over the surrounding forest. It had one room downstairs with a ladder leading up to two rooms.

The estate changed hands and purpose over the centuries, becoming a farm in the 1800s. By the 1920’s, the estate was owned by Lady Enid de Chair, wife of Admiral Dudley de Chair. And in 1925, it was sold to British diamond dealer, Otto Oppenheimer, who renamed it Lynwood Chase. The estate was eventually sold off in sections and part of the grounds became Lynwood Chase housing estate.

Today, there are visible reminders of times gone by; a faint note pencilled on the door of the Victorian workshop, which is now a downstairs snug, and the original exterior window hooks which dangle redundantly.

The current owners, Gerry Brown, an electrical engineer, and his wife Jenny, a drama teacher, bought Lynwood Cottage in 1988. Their son, Steve, based his school project on historic buildings, focusing on Lynwood Cottage. His research took him to county libraries, enabling the family to piece together Lynwood Cottage’s story.

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Steve and his father compiled a list of previous owners and key dates including when it changed hands, how much for, and when it was extended and updated.

Mrs Brown fell in love with its homely feel, quirkiness, and the swimming pool. And the previous owner – a film stunt double – piqued her interest.

She said: “When we came to view the house, there were pictures on the walls of the owner with huge stars in their day such as Roger Moore. The lady was a stunt double in Bond movies and the Hart to Hart series, and she lived here with her minder.

“Upstairs, one of the bedrooms housed costumes, wonderful hats, and wigs. Another bedroom was her make-up room with a dressing table and a huge mirror surrounded by lights. She also had a dressing room full of beautiful clothes. The décor was very glamorous - lots of heavy, velvet curtains, and drop crystal light fittings.”

At the time, Mrs Brown was unsure what owning a Grade II listed house involved, but her husband did. With an engineering background, he took on the maintenance work, calling in specialists when needed.

He said: “We knew there was a hidden Inglenook fireplace, so we removed the woodchip wallpaper to uncover the fireplace beam ends. The original bread oven had gone, and the brickwork needed some attention. So, we brought in a specialist builder to renovate the fireplace using the old bricks and a few reclaimed ones. He even copied the original style of marking in the lime mortar.

“A few years ago, we replaced the lounge floor and beneath it we found old sheep’s teeth and pieces of leather belt.”

Historic England said the purpose of listing is to inform how buildings develop in the future. Permission from the local council is needed to make interior and exterior alterations that affect the building’s historical and architectural interest.

Lynwood Cottage has attracted some attention from the public over the years. Primary schoolchildren once drew the house from the opposite pavement. And a photo of the property was posted on Historic England’s website with the caption ‘Looking good as at April 2020.’

The next chapter in the home’s story is about to be written, as the house is now for sale.

Mrs Brown said: “This is not your average house, and it won’t suit everyone. But I do hope the next custodians will cherish it and have fun here. We certainly have. This house has a lot of love to give.”