Man spends over £1million turning Sussex cottage into dream castle

Wojciech Szajna has built a castle out of a cottage in Sussex.

A homeowner from Sussex has spent more than £1million transforming a cottage into his dream castle complete with a tower.

Wojciech Szajna initially built around the five bedroom cottage, but it was later demolished and the eight bedroom Beaubush Castle has gradually sprung up in its place.

The castle is a prominent sight as the first residence you see when you enter Crawley. 

Large walls and battlements have been built and Wojciech's Polish heritage is on display, with lions bearing Polish symbols, as well as the Polish Eagle adorning the exterior walls, whilst a Union Jack flies above the castle's roof to highlight his new homeland. 

The family bought the cottage on Horsham Road in December 2010 and, in the 12 years since, Wojciech, 57, has had his work cut out as he seeks to achieve his goal, though he believes the project is still two-years from completion.

The father of two who's lived in the UK for the past 18 years with his wife, Beata have two sons, aged 11 and 21.

Having spent some time in Dordogne, France, where Wojciech repaired castles and stonewalls - he gave an insight into the work that has gone into his new Crawley home.

"It was quite hard to get permission and I amended the plan a couple of times. It’s all my plan in my head, I must call for architects telling them what I want to do and they charge me loads of money because it's all handmade and expensive," joked Wojciech.

"If all the brickwork is straight and square it doesn’t look good. I made the brickwork more curved for more effect and an authentic castle feel otherwise it would look just like any other house," he said.

The inside of the house has a more modern feel

Living in a castle would be a childhood dream for many youngsters, and this is no exception for Wojciech's kids. But, when asked what his wife thought when he originally told her that he intended to turn their cottage into a castle, Wojciech said: "Seriously - she was not happy with me, now she is happy though.

Among the costly features are a large boundary wall, a tower, the battlements and ramparts - though these are more for show, the large walls of the castle itself and a clock face and decorative lions which came from Poland.

In future, Wojciech hopes to add an impressive gate to the boundary wall, likely containing some more Polish references, whilst also looking to improve the outer grounds of the house with improved parking and a potential swimming pool.

A modern looking annex used for storage sits in the garden of the property, with Wojciech hoping to expand his castle further to connect this to the rest of the property for a more consistent feel.

"I have no more plans to build any more castles, not at my age. But I will have to talk with the council about making it all look the same, to make it the same complex - at the moment it is Beaubush Castle, and that is Beaubush Cottage annex."

Whilst the inside of the house has a more modern feel to it, there is still plenty that makes it special as Wojciech is a keen collector of antiques and, once the time is right, will use them to decorate his property for a proper medieval touch.

Some have already made their way inside too, with a suit of armour sitting in the upstairs of his house, whilst other ornaments sit atop mantelpieces and old tables to keep the medieval vibe alive and well.

Wojciech has admitted that he is very happy with his castle which sits beside the new Kilnwood Vale development: "I'm very pleased with it. But when I bought the house I had a nice countryside view.

"But now I’m in a valley and all these houses have been built around me and all this ground has been built about 20 metres up."

Up next for Wojciech include some interior changes to the flooring whilst also hoping to complete the roof of the property.

Outside landscaping and a potential pool are two things Wojciech also suggested, who knows what's next for Crawley's modern piece of history.

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