An autumn flutter: country houses currently for sale

Country houses are often launched on the market to catch either bonus money early in the year or those looking to move before the summer.  However, circumstances or owner preference can lead to some interesting houses being given a promotional push in the autumn (usually through Country Life magazine) to catch those who fancy Christmas in front a different log fire.  So, here’s a quick round-up of some of the better country houses currently for sale.

Upton Pynes, Devon (Image: Upton Pynes website)
Upton Pynes, Devon (Image: Upton Pynes website)

Easily one of the most impressive houses is one that has always been a sign for me that I’m nearly home when travelling back to Devon on the train.  Just outside Exeter is the beautiful grade-II* listed Upton Pynes, which, despite the very English sounding name, bears a striking resemblance to a French chateau.  Built c.1700 by Hugh Stafford with very sympathetic later additions, this large but elegant house sits in a commanding position in the Exe Valley, perfectly positioned to catch the sun throughout the day, giving the red-brick façades a warm glow.  Described by Pevsner as “…an excellent example of the stately double-pile house that became popular after the Restoration but is relatively rare in Devon.”, the interior features a particularly grand entrance hall created as part of alterations in 1852 by the architect Ambrose Poynter for Sir Stafford Henry Northcote (later the Earl of Iddesleigh).  The main interiors of the house, including an enfilade of rooms on the south front and a notable library, largely dates from 1700.  The house also has the claim that it was the one Jane Austen had in mind when describing ‘Barton House’ in ‘Sense & Sensibility’.  The house still requires some restoration but will definitely reward whoever completes this grand project.

> More information: ‘Upton Pynes, Devon‘ £3.25m, 37-acres [Savills]

Crendle Court, Dorset (Image: Savills)
Crendle Court, Dorset (Image: Savills)

Sometimes a grand house designed by an interesting architect can remarkably remain unlisted, as is the case with the Edwardian Crendle Court in Dorset which was designed by Walter H. Brierley (b.1862 – d.1926) who has been described as ‘the Yorkshire Lutyens’.  A prolific architect, he designed over 300 buildings including schools, churches and several country houses including the elegant neo-Georgian Sion Hill Hall in Yorkshire.  Brierley was a versatile architect able to work successfully in various styles though with a preference for ‘Wrenaissance’ – a modern re-working of the architectural language of Sir Christopher Wren.  Crendle Court was built in 1909 and features elaborate ornamental plasterwork in the main reception rooms by George Bankart, and sits, well, more luxuriates, in 270-acres of grounds.  Considering the architect and the quality English Heritage ought to send someone round to evaluate and spot list it before it gets ruined by someone with more money than taste.

> More information: ‘Crendle Court, Dorset‘ £6.95m, 270-acres [Savills]

Rudby Hall, Yorkshire (Image: Carter Jonas)
Rudby Hall, Yorkshire (Image: Carter Jonas)

Other significant houses available were launched earlier but are now being promoted following price cuts.  One such house is the grade-II* listed Rudby Hall in Yorkshire, which was originally given a guide price of £3.5m but now is offered at £2.75m.  Designed by Anthony Salvin in 1838 for the 10th Viscount Falkland, who originally called it Leven Grove, but by the late 19th-century it was known as Skutterskelfe Hall before being given its present name by the company which owned it in the 1990s.  The house was restored in the 1980s and comprises the main house but with the ancillary buildings converted into let accommodation bringing in a handy £50,000 p/a – so long as you don’t mind sharing your gardens, grounds and woodlands with them.

> More information: ‘Rudby Hall, Yorkshire‘ £2.75m, 10-acres [Carter Jonas]

Blairquhan Castle, Ayrshire, Scotland (Image: Blairquhan Castle website)
Blairquhan Castle, Ayrshire, Scotland (Image: Blairquhan Castle website)

For those who fancy something more baronial, then Blairquhan Castle in Ayrshire, Scotland may be perfect.  The core of the property is a tower house built in 1346 but was later given a new front by William Burn in 1820-24 to provide the imposing if slightly stern façade we see today.  The estate was noted for it beauty with Lord Cockburn writing in 1844: “I rose early…and surveyed the beauties of Blairquhan. It deserves its usual praises. A most gentleman-like place rich in all sorts of attractions – of wood, lawn, river, gardens, hill, agriculture and pasture.”.  What more could a squire desire?

> More information: ‘Blairquhan Castle, Scotland‘ £4.85m, 670-acres [Savills]

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

Most of these houses seem to be with Savills so to even things up, and to include a house I’m surprised hasn’t sold already, is Beaurepaire in Hampshire.  The house was featured on the blog in more detail (‘Phoenix for sale: Beaurepaire House, Hampshire‘) when it was first launched in June this year.  The house is what remains after a devastating fire in 1942 destroyed the main block of the house, leaving the current service wing which was extensively refurbished and remodelled after WWII to give the elegant house which is for sale today.  Approached down a long drive, what guest couldn’t fail to be impressed by the wonderful gates designed by Sir John Soane which guard the entrance over the moat?  Sitting in a 250-acre estate, the £8m price tag is probably justified for the area – and the owner is apparently in no rush to sell so don’t expect any big price cut soon.

> More information: ‘Beaurepaire, Hampshire‘ £8m, 250-acres [Knight Frank]

14 thoughts on “An autumn flutter: country houses currently for sale

  1. Jeff November 12, 2010 / 22:52

    As we, in Minnesota, expect our first winter storm promising up to twelve inches of snow, I settled in to savor this tasty morsel from across the pond. It is easier to survive our severe winters knowing that beautiful places like the conservatory at Flintham Hall will only see gentle frost and a snowy background to show off its magnificent architecture. Thank you for writing this blog. It is a treasure!

  2. Andrew November 14, 2010 / 13:17

    The BBC’s Antiques Roadshow is also starting its autumn flutter of 2010-filmed country houses tonight with Tatton Park. Even though recent episodes have shown Hopetoun House (31 October) and Somerleyton Hall (3 October), these were left-overs from the 2009 filming season.
    8 country seats coming up in this 33rd season of Antiques Roadshow are (with the original filming date show in brackets):
    * Tatton Park, Cheshire – 14 & 21 Nov 2010 (20 May 2010).
    * Hatfield House, Hertfordshire – 28 Nov 2010 & 13 Feb 2011 (15 Jul 2010).
    * Chatsworth, Derbyshire – 5 & 12 Dec 2010 & 10 Apr 2011 (8 Jul 2010).
    * Blair Castle, Perthshire – 9 Jan 2011 (9 Sep 2010).
    * Hutton-in-the-Forest, Cumbria – 30 Jan 2011 (1 Jul 2010).
    * Hampton Court Castle, Herefordshire – 6 Feb 2011 (22 Jul 2010).
    * St Fagans National History Museum, Cardiff – 27 Mar 2011 (10 Jun 2010).
    * Charlecote Park, Warwickshire – 17 & 24 Apr 2011 (16 Sep 2010).

  3. Andrew November 23, 2010 / 09:47

    Bunny Hall, near Nottingham, is also for sale for £3m, being the former home of country house restorer Chek Whyte , both appearing in a 2007 episode of Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire:
    Chek Whyte has owned Stanford Hall in Nottinghamshire since 2007, which he planned to convert into a £60m retirement village before suffering financial problems last year. I wonder what will happen to Stanford Hall; perhaps it is already quietly for sale again.

  4. Bicou December 7, 2010 / 22:43

    A very special thank to you for this fascinating blog !
    i was a french guy rather used to french architecture till i discovered these pages..
    i can now spend hours reading these happy or sad stories about these bewitching houses that make our identity..
    Why not creating the same in France!!
    all the best,

  5. Andrew December 10, 2010 / 08:02

    Rockbeare Manor in Devon with 106 acres was re-launched again last month by agents Knight Frank with an undisclosed price, having been for sale originally in August 2008 for the first time since 1850. The house is Grade I listed, having been built in 1760 with elegant interiors, especially the dining room in the style of Robert Adam (see KF online brochure page 6), with the grounds being Grade II listed, possessing the third largest oak tree in England with a 7-metre diameter. Owners Gerard and Caroline Noel are not in any rush to sell, as they are downsizing for retirement and to provide for their children, so can hold out for the right price. Caroline inherited the estate from her Nation family line.

    • countryhouses December 31, 2010 / 08:56

      Thanks Andrew – if ever there was a house that looks like it needs a much larger estate then I think Osberton Hall is it. The house is a fine Victorian gentleman’s residence and the stables are particularly impressive but to have only 47 acres is measly. Perhaps they can negotiate something with the Foljambe family who, I believe, still own the surrounding land.

  6. Andrew January 1, 2011 / 12:21

    I agree, Matt, it’s preferable for the house owner to control the surrounding fields, especially those seen from the principal rooms, in order to ensure an ideal outlook, as well as privacy and security. Part of the problem with Osberton Hall is that its Park Farm, presumably still owned and run by Michael Foljambe who hosts Horse Trials (marked as the Osberton Nurseries on Google’s map, although the Nurseries are actually half a mile to the south), is located beside the house on its south-west entrance front, and so limits the amount of land the house can have without causing access problems or having to become a farming estate rather than a residential home. Up to now the Foljambes (related to the Earls of Liverpool of the second creation) have been considerate in not farming the fields around house on the North and South Lawns (zoom out one level), but there are no guarantees this will continue in the future as the Hall’s gardens and landscape are not protected by being Listed (unless the sale contract had a special clause to that effect) . However, I am surprised that the North Lawns (north-west of the Lake) were not originally sold with the Hall, although this may have been complicated by the presence of the church on the eastern end.

  7. Andrew January 27, 2011 / 09:07

    The site of the now demolished Standish Hall in Lancashire with 590 acres is under offer at £5.45m (being part of a larger 8,000-acre estate sell-off). Standish Hall was built in 1574 and mostly demolished in about 1923 when the Tudor wing and chapel were dismantled (and sold to America mistakenly as the birthplace of Myles Standish) after the death in 1920 of the last Standish family male, with the remaining two converted houses being demolished in the early 1980’s. The 1910 image of the house could also be added as a link to the house’s listing on the Lost Heritage website. For further reading on the subject of country house room interiors sold overseas and reassembled, see Moving Rooms: The Trade in Architectural Salvages by John Harris in 2007, which is also worthy of a blog article.

    • ldm January 27, 2011 / 20:46


      Thanks for the links. The brochure for the property is very interesting, (even if it doesn’t have anything to do with country houses):

      Does anyone know who the sellers of this very scattered estate are?

  8. Andrew June 3, 2011 / 08:50

    The tale of two Devon Grade II* houses for sale by Savills (separated by more than just Dartmoor National Park): Blachford Manor with 734 acres was just sold for around £8m having been on the market for less than 2 months, whereas Pynes House with only 37 acres remains unsold with its price slashed by almost 40% since it launched 6 months ago. It certainly is a fickle market, with the acreage and condition of the house being paramount. Of the other 4 houses featured in this post, Crendle Court was under offer last week, with the remaining 3 unsold, with the same asking prices.

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.