Phoenix for sale: Beaurepaire House, Hampshire

Beaurepaire House, Hampshire (Image: Knight Frank)
Beaurepaire House, Hampshire (Image: Knight Frank)

Launched this week ( 23 June 2010) in Country Life magazine is a fine, grade-II* listed, moated manor house set in nearly 250 acres of Hampshire.  Open the first set of impressive wrought iron gates and follow the drive down to the ancient moat and through the second, equally impressive, set of white painted gates over the wooden bridge. Before you stands a beautiful red-brick manor house – but why is the house set in one small corner of the island? Why does the drive lead over the moat but unusually not to the middle of the house?  And why does that tower look a bit new?

The answer to all these questions is that Beaurepaire House, as it now stands, is what remains of an important and beautiful manor house which burnt down in 1942 after a chimney fire.    What happened subsequently is an interesting example of how disaster need not lead to the loss of the whole house or the estate.

Beaurepaire House, Hampshire before the fire (Image: Lost Heritage: England's Lost Country Houses)
Beaurepaire House, Hampshire before the fire (Image: Lost Heritage: England's Lost Country Houses)

Beaurepaire House has royal connections having been visited twice, once by Henry VIII in 1531 and then by his daughter Elizabeth I during her visit to The Vyne.  The moat itself dates from 1369 but the original house was built in the 16th-century but was badly damaged during the Civil War and was only rebuilt in 1777.  The design of the new Georgian ‘Gothick’ house followed the rare structure of having a square core with castellated corner turrets.  There are relatively few examples of these houses – and the ones we have today are all ruined to some degree (Ruperra Castle, Wales / Lulworth Castle, Dorset) or lost entirely (Compton Bassett House, Wiltshire).

At the time of the fire the house was owned by one of the richest men in the country, Sir Strati Ralli, but wartime building restrictions prevented restoration. After the war the estate was owned by Lady Sherfield and in 1965 she decided to restore the remaining servant’s wing as a house and commissioned the well-known architect Tom Bird, who had restored many other country houses, to make the house habitable.  Bird decided to add a sympathetic tower, which continued the existing architectural style, to the fire-damaged southern flank of the remaining wing to not only provide structure but also to improve the proportions of what was left.  The addition was less than 10% of what remained but successfully ensured that the house was able to rise again from the ashes of the fire to retain the role it had enjoyed for hundreds of years as the centrepiece to an impressive country estate.


Property details: Knight Frank seem to have forgotten to put the details on their website.   Nevermind, here’s a link to all the Hampshire houses they’re selling in the hope that they soon add it in: Knight Frank: Hampshire

9 thoughts on “Phoenix for sale: Beaurepaire House, Hampshire

  1. Andrew June 24, 2010 / 10:55

    Regarding the missing link on the Knight Frank website, they seem to have a deal with Country Life that the house details don’t appear on the Knight Frank website until the week after the magazine issue, although there is usually a web page for the house sale on the Country Life website (which I can’t find).

  2. countryhouses June 24, 2010 / 11:13

    Thanks Andrew – that would explain it but it does seem odd to create interest but then expect potential buyers to wait a week before they can find out more. I’m sure it makes sense to marketing people even if it doesn’t make sense to anyone else.

  3. fugitive ink June 24, 2010 / 13:13

    Andrew is right, I think – but it’s maddening – sometimes by the time the house appears online it’s already under offer! (Which, I guess, is a good result from an estate agent’s point of view – if not for the rest of us.)

    I only just discovered this website, by the way – it’s very good indeed.

  4. Andrew June 24, 2010 / 13:59

    That’s the price KF pay for having a traditionally guaranteed page 1 advertisement in every issue. BTW, any serious known potential buyers would probably be informed of the sale before the advertisement appears, and the rest will contact the agents and get emailed/mailed particulars. It’s only us poor old curious architectural historians that get the short end of the stick!

  5. countryhouses June 25, 2010 / 00:45

    @fugitive ink: thank you – appreciate the compliment.

    It is a shame that we country house lovers are last in line – but I understand that. What we need is an incredibly rich architectural historian who could be on the mailing list and pass on the details!

  6. Andrew October 13, 2010 / 13:07

    Beaurepaire House is still for sale, but now showing a guide price of £8m, instead of the ‘price on application’ displayed in mid September. Here is the Knight Frank link:

    • countryhouses October 13, 2010 / 17:34

      Thanks Andrew. I have a feeling the price if you did apply was about £11m, which, if correct, means quite a significant reduction. However, recent interviews with the leading country house estate agents have had them saying they prefer to do one major price cut rather than gradually slicing it.



  7. Isobel Brocas-Wiren July 15, 2011 / 07:55

    Very surprised to see that the home of my ancestor, Sir Bernard Brocas, is for sale. I had the opportunity to visit this gracious country house and its beautiful gardens 3 years ago. A memorable experience. – Isobel Brocas-Wiren, Beaumere Lodge, Hamilton, New Zealand

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.