An enterprising dad has ripped down a cottage to build himself and his family an incredible eight bedroom castle.
Including large walls, battlements and even cast metal lions guarding the entrance, the bizarre construction is a sight to behold on the otherwise normal street.
Named Beaubush Castle (pronounced like Bewbush), it was the brainchild of Wojciech Szajna who had to fight an uphill battle against the local planning department and even his wife to realise his dream.
But now it’s nearing completion Wojciech says he gets a lot of positive comments and his wife is “happy” with him, reports SussexLive.
Wojciech, 57, planned and built most of the castle himself after buying the old cottage in Crawley in 2010. Despite the 12 years of work he’s put into it so far he thinks it will still need another two-years to finish.
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.
He’s has lived in the UK for the past 18 years with his wife, Beata. They have two sons, aged 11 and 21, and relocated to the UK having spent some time in Dordogne, France, where Wojciech repaired castles and stonewalls.
“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.
Wojciech spent a considerable amount on time and money ensuring it looked genuine and not just like any other house in the area: “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.
When Wojciech first told his wife he intended to turn their cottage into a castle she wasn’t exactly thrilled. He said: “Seriously – she was not happy with me, now she is happy though.
“In general, about 80 per cent of opinion is good, maybe 20 or 15 per cent is bad. A couple of years ago the house appeared on Facebook and maybe 10 per cent was negative and people said ‘That is no feat to Crawley,’ or ‘It’s better how it was before,’ but negative attention is normal, and not avoidable.”
Wojciech said that “everything is expensive” having spent much more than £1m to build.
Among the costly features are a large boundary wall, a tower, the battlements and ramparts. Some features such as the clock face and decorative lions were imported 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.”
Inside has a much more modern feel but Wojciech is a keen collector of antiques and, once the time is right, will use them, including a suit of armour, to decorate his property for a proper medieval touch.
Wojciech has admitted that he is very happy with his castle which sits beside a new 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.”
However, Wojciech did find time to joke about the new properties at the surrounding development which have a view of his keep: “I’m sure the developer is happy. These houses are probably more expensive as they have a view of a castle, they must be the most expensive houses in estate.
“Also, my castle lets you know you’re in Crawley now. It’s the last house that’s officially in Crawley as any further up and you’re in Faygate.”
Up next for Wojciech include some interior changes to the flooring whilst also hoping to complete the roof of the property. Eitherway he’s not quite finished with the town’s new piece of history.