Tag Archives: England

CHIPSTEAD PLACE

Surplus to requirement. A country house that was stripped of its interiors and subsequently demolished.

Chipstead Place, near Chevening, erected by William Emerton. Image: The Weald.

Chipstead Place was once part of the demesne and lands of the manor of the de Chepsted family. It was first mentioned in the latter end of the reign of Elizabeth I, when it was in the possession of Robert Cranmer, the son of Thomas, who married Jane Grace, daughter of a Sussex landowner.

Anne, their only daughter, carried the seat in marriage to Sir Arthur Herrys, eldest son of Sir William Herrys, in Essex. On the death of Sir Arthur in 1632 the estate passed to his second son, John, who married the daughter of Sir Thomas Dacre, of Chestnut, in Herefordshire. The lady survived him and married William Priestly, of Wild Hill, in Hertfordshire, who in 1652 conveyed Chipstead Place to one Jeffry Thomas.

Chipstead Place. Image: The Lost Country Houses of Kent.

Subsequently it became the property of David Polhill, who was High Sheriff in 1662, and dying without issue, left the estate to his only surviving brother, Thomas Polhill, of Clapham, in Surrey. By his marriage with Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Ireton, he left three sons but, by a will, he conveyed the house in 1665 to Sir Nicholas Strode.

A new house was erected here by William Emerton around the turn of the 18th century. A grand affair with 26 bed and dressing rooms and six reception rooms.

Chipstead Place. Image: The Lost Country Houses of Kent.

David Polhill, son of Thomas Polhill, later re-purchased Chipstead Place from Emerton trustees, and was a member for the county in Parliament in 1708 and Keeper of the Records and Sheriff of Kent in 1715. Once again, the house had come into the possession of the Polhill family. In 1754 Charles Polhill resided here and it later became home to other members of the family.

Frederick Perkins built an estate village here in 1729, and on his death in 1860, the family tenanted the house, including to railway builder Sir Samuel Morton Peto and the banker Henry Oppenheim.

Subsequently it was the home to John Duveen, who during World War One, lent Chipstead Place as a hospital for wounded soldiers.

The first batch of Belgian soldiers who bore the brunt of the German attack on the forts of Liege and Namur were received here and nursed by ladies of the district who formed the local detachment of the V.A.D., under Miss Hall Hall, the Commandant.

During this period Chipstead Place was visited by thousands of local people admiring the stately mantlepieces, the pictures and other glories of the fine old mansion.

After the war, Mr Duveen sold the house to Sir Roland Hodge, who later disposed of it to Dame Adele Meyer.

Chipstead Place. Image: Lost Heritage.

After a sale of contents in 1931, Chipstead Place went under the hammer ‘for demolition’. “Thus, there passes a familiar landmark, another sacrifice on the altar of ‘development’ a sacrifice even more complete than has overtaken other mansions in the district,” reported the Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser.

Chipstead Place was demolished in 1932 and its land used to build new houses. Only the ballroom, servants’ quarters and West Lodge survived. Part of the estate is now occupied by Chipstead Place Lawn Tennis Club.

Chipstead Place. Image: Lost Heritage.

OCKWELLS MANOR

One of the finest specimens of an old English Manor House that has played host to Kings and Queens.

Ockwells Manor is an historic and highly impressive Grade I listed timber framed manor house. Image: Knight Frank.

The Manor House of Ockwells, or Ockholt, as it was called when Sir John Norreys, High Sheriff of Berkshire, and a courtier of Henry VI, started to build it between 1440 and 1450, is one of the most complete and satisfying examples of an English manor house of the fifteenth century. It embodies all that is best in the design and workmanship of the Middle Ages and has some remarkably contemporary heraldic glass of eighteen shields of arms, two of them Royal, in the east windows of the Great Hall.

A comprehensive view from the south-west in 1952. The gateway in the buttressed wall leads to a main drive. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.

Norreys’ house, which stands on land at Bray, near Maidenhead, given to Ricardo De Norreys by Henry III in 1267, was completed in 1466, the year after his death. In his will, dated April 4th, 1465, he is recorded as having left a sum of £40 to complete the building of a chapel. When completed it formed part of the manor buildings, but fire destroyed most of it in 1720.

Ockwells Manor was described by Sir Nikolas Pevsner as “the most refined and most sophisticated timber framed mansion in England.” Image: Knight Frank.

Much of the uniqueness of Ockwells lies in the fact that it is constructed entirely of local materials. It still retains undisturbed today in its entirety the massive oak framework and timber which the Windsor forests originally gave it. It retains also the pleasantly symmetrical architectural features of Tudor building. Ockwells is built round its small Cloister Court. The Great Hall also has its notable features: the massive oak screen with complementary service quarters behind it, a 24 ft long table made of two planks, fine armour and furniture and a large, colourful Flemish tapestry.

The house is faithful to its period and boasts spectacular panelling, stained glass windows and herringbone pattern brickwork. Image: Knight Frank.

Nearly a century after Sir John had completed his manor house it passed, on the marriage of Elizabeth Norreys, to Sir Thomas ffetiplace. And Elizabeth’s daughter, Katherine, in turn, took Ockwells as part of her dowry on marrying Sir Francis Englefield. It was this Lady Elizabeth’s close friendship with Elizabeth I which is known to have brought the Queen to Ockwells on many occasions. King Charles I used it for some time as a shooting box and when George IV visited he was so pleased with its architectural beauty that the style was introduced at Windsor in the building of King’s College in the Great Park.

Ockwells has been greatly extended and restored since the first brick was laid, particularly since 1889, when substantial work was carried out. Image: Knight Frank.

In about 1600 a new staircase was added, the hall furnished with wainscoting and some new chimney pieces added. The fabric of the building then fell into decline until the late 19th Century when Charles Grenfell moved some of the glass to his home at Taplow Court for safe keeping. In 1885, his son William offered to return the glass if a new owner would grant him a 99 year lease of the manor in return. By this time, Sir Stephen Leach came to the rescue and he stripped the whole frame back and repaired it. It was then purchased by Sir Edward Barry, another enthusiastic antiquarian, who recast the building in its present form in stages, enlarging the dining room, inserting fireplaces and windows and moving the Jacobean staircase to its present position. By the 1950s, Ockwells was owned by Mr S.H. Barnett who, at the time, was praised for preserving rather than destroying the fabric of the house.

 The present owners have owned Ockwells Manor since 1986 and with the help of Mansfield Thomas and Partners of Hertfordshire, returned it to its present order.

Aside from its architectural and historical pedigree, the house functions as a beautiful family home ideal for entertaining or family living in equal measure. Image: Knight Frank.
The Jacobean staircase, 17th Century panelling and 15th Century stone fireplace are particularly striking features of the house. Image: Knight Frank.

HUNTON COURT

Hunton Court, Hunton, near Maidstone, was originally called Court Lodge. Image: Strutt & Parker.

Hunton Court, near Maidstone, dates to the thirteenth century and the traditional framed farmhouse dating to the fourteenth century, with a large roof structure and three crown posts can still be found in the attic rooms.

The house has long been associated with the Bannerman family, starting with Henry Bannerman (1798-1871), descended from a Perthshire family of farmers and distillers who, by the 1820s, had graduated into cotton-trading and manufacturing in Manchester. The firm of Henry Bannerman & Sons dealt with cotton, calicoes, muslins and plain fabrics before diversifying into manufacturing cotton goods.

It was from this fortune that Henry Bannerman bought the Court Lodge estate in Kent in 1848, enlarging and remodelling the existing farmhouse, adding a Georgian façade, with central pediment, canted bay windows and balustraded parapet.

The current garden layout is Victorian with features including two lakes which are thought to follow the form of the original moat, a bridge, kitchen garden and many specimen trees. Image: Strutt & Parker.

Henry Bannerman lived at Court Lodge until his death in 1871, leaving the estate to his wife, Mary, for life, and then to a nephew, Henry Campbell, on condition that he took the name of Bannerman, which he had reluctantly agreed to in 1872. He resided at nearby Gennings Park, part of the family estate, before moving into Court Lodge, renaming it Hunton Court, on Mary’s death in 1894.

Grade II listed Hunton Court was sold in 2008 for a price believed to be about £5.5 million. Subsequently restored it is on the market in 2019 with a guide price of £12.5 million. Image: Strutt & Parker.

Henry Campbell-Bannerman (1836-1908), the son of Sir James Campbell, a Glasgow merchant and Lord Provost, entered politics and became leader of the Liberal Party between 1899 and 1908, and Prime Minister between 1905 and 1908.

He died a few days after leaving office and the Hunton Court estate passed to his cousin, James Campbell-Bannerman, whose descendants remained until the death of Captain Michael Campbell Devas in 2007. The following year it was sold ‘in need of renovation’ and completely restored.

Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, British statesman and Liberal Party politician. He was knighted in 1895. On his death in 1908 he left estate worth £54,908, exclusive of settled estate at Belmont Castle in Scotland, and of Hunton Court and the Gennings Park estates in Kent.
The main house being occupied by his aunt, Henry Campbell-Bannerman and his wife took the nearby house at Gennings Park as their country residence, living there until 1887 . Image: Strutt & Parker.

CHEVENING

Sixty years ago, Chevening was bequeathed to the nation to ensure that the estate would not be broken up, but would instead retain a significant role as a private house in public life.

The oldest part of the house was built between 1616 and 1630 by Richard Lennard, 13th Lord Dacre, and the work had traditionally been attributed to Inigo Jones. Later, the wings were built by the first Lord Stanhope, who died in 1721. Pilaster and older stonework, added by the third Earl, completely hid Inigo Jones’ red bricks on the façade. Lord Roseberry, who as a boy stayed at the mansion, invariably called it ‘Paradise’. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.

In May 1959, the Chevening Estate Bill, published details about Lord Stanhope’s gift of Chevening, Kent, to the nation. Lord Stanhope, the owner, who would leave no heir to the earldom, and had been a widower since 1940, said that as long ago as 1937 he had told Neville Chamberlain of his intention to bequeath Chevening to the country. During the Second World War he had told Winston Churchill of his wish.

However, it fell to Harold Macmillan to make a formal acknowledgement of the gift.

An endowment provided for the upkeep and maintenance of the house and the 3,000-acre estate, which could be used by Prime Ministers, or nominated members of the Cabinet, or members of the Royal Family. There was also provision in the Bill for its use as the residence of the American Ambassador if other nominees failed to make use of the house.

Mr Macmillan said that the mansion had associations with many distinguished statesmen. Lord Stanhope’s long service to the State, had been crowned with a gift which would allow the rare beauty of Chevening and its peace and serenity to serve the same high purpose which he and his forbears had always cherished.

The main staircase at Chevening, Kent. Lord Stanhope, a former first Lord of the Admiralty and Leader of the House of Commons, standing on the staircase in 1959. It was made of Spanish oak between 1720 and 1723. Behind were pieces of armour from a disbanded militia regiment in Ireland in the reign of Queen Anne. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.

Chevening had been in the possession and occupation of seven generations of Stanhopes, except for a brief period in 1769 when Lord Chatham stayed here with his family. During this period Pitt planned the carriage drive known as Lord Chatham’s Ride, partly to facilitate visits from his family residence at Hayes to see his only daughter, who married Charles, later the third Lord Stanhope.

The Print Gallery at Chevening, Kent. The long room contained engravings of leading personalities of the era between 1855 and 1875. Many of them were signed. There were also several framed letters of interest. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.

ADLINGTON HALL

Like many country houses Adlington had a purpose during wartime. However, the cost of upkeep meant it had to open its doors to the public afterwards.

The oldest part of the Adlington Hall was constructed between 1480 and 1505, the east wing added in 1581. The hall was reconstructed and reduced in size in 1928. The work included demolition of much of the west wing and was completed under the supervision of architect Hubert Worthington.

In August 1942, Adlington Hall the historic home of the Leghs, had been in the possession of the family since 1352, when they first acquired it in the reign of Edward III.

The then-chatelaine, Mrs Cynthia Combermere Legh (1896-1983)  , had turned a large part of the house into a maternity hospital for the wives of servicemen of all ranks, with a staff of skilled nurses and all the modern equipment. It was opened by St. Mary’s Hospitals, Manchester, under the title of ‘St. Mary’s Services Maternity Hospital’.

Wonderful oak-panelled rooms had become wards and nurseries, and inmates of the hospital were able to sit in the Great Hall, where stood the organ on which Handel, when a guest at Adlington, played and composed his music.

Mrs Cynthia Combermere Legh (1896-1983) seen in August 1942. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.

The Hall stood on a site that in Saxon times was used as a hunting lodge. After the Norman Conquest it passed to Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester, and nephew of William the Conqueror.

In the thirteenth century it was granted to the Norman family of De Corona, and it was from their union with the De Leghs of Booth that its occupants were descended.

Successive generations of De Leghs carried out additions and alterations at Adlington, but the Hall still retained its ancient splendour. It was quadrangular in shape, and was in early times surrounded by a moat. The Great Hall was built between 1450 and 1505, and there were additions in typical black-and-white half-timbered Cheshire style, in 1581. Of this, the north-east corner and the east wing still stood, but the remainder had undergone rebuilding. The north front was added about 1600 and was built of dark-red brick; the west wing was rebuilt in 1749 and the south front – in Georgian style – in 1757.

August 1942. Georgian columns facing south make an imposing background for one of the white ambulances used by the maternity hospital at Adlington Hall, Cheshire. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.
August 1942. A new arrival at the maternity hospital at Adlington Hall is welcomed by members of staff as she steps from the ambulance. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.
August 1942. Seeing off a patient from the Elizabethan courtyard on the eastern side of Adlington Hall. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.

All over England, Scotland and Wales, and for the most part for the same reason (the necessity of providing for upkeep), great mansions were being opened up to the public after the Second World War, and the public was flocking to these places, drawn in part by the rich treasures displayed, and in part perhaps by a natural curiosity to see the background of life as it was lived in the spacious days of privilege.

In April 1950, Adlington Hall became the latest to open its doors. The house is still privately owned by the Legh family and is open to the public for guided tours at advertised times.

April 1950. A Georgian front masked one of the finest half-timbered residences in the north country. This south front was added to Adlington Hall, near Macclesfield, in 1757. Behind it can be glimpsed the celebrated black-and-white hall which ranked with Baguley, Bramhall and Little Moreton among the masterpieces of this kind in Cheshire. Adlington Hall, for centuries the home of the Leghs, was being opened to the public during weekends and Bank Holidays. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.
April 1950. The quadrangle at Adlington, with the unique Cheshire-style, black-and-white timbering. The inscription on the door recorded that this part of the building was completed in 1581 in the reign of Queen Elizabeth by ‘Thomas Leghe Esquyer who married Sybbel daughter to Urian Brereton, of Handforde Knighte.’ The inscription also mentioned that they had four sons and five daughters. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.
April 1950. An example of elaborate decoration on the Great Hall at Adlington. Demi-angels bearing shields are placed at the terminals of the beams in the large hammer-beam roof. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.
April 1950. Another example of elaborate decoration on the Great Hall at Adlington. This canopied tester was over the high table in the Great Hall. It was divided into sixty panels depicting the arms of various gentlemen of Cheshire. The alliances of the family of Legh of Adlington are set forth in the lower two rows, with the shield of Legh in the centre. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.
April 1950. A corner of the Great Hall at Adlington. The hall was the centre from which the whole mansion had grown. It belonged to a period when the Great Hall had reached its apogee, said Fred H. Crossley in his history of Cheshire, and before its decline began to be apparent. It was said to be larger and richer and finer even than the Great Hall at Rufford, in neighbouring Lancashire. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.
April 1950. The organ in the Great Hall at Adlington. Installed under the supervision of Handel during 1740-1750. Two oak trees supported this east of the hall, standing on each side of the organ, and these were all that remained of the original hunting lodge, in Macclesfield Forest. The trees had their roots in the ground and the upper trunks carved. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.
April 1950. One of the two oak trees still with their roots in the ground, which supported the east end of the hall. Of all the features of Adlington this was perhaps the best known and attracted the attention of visitors. The trees dated from Saxon times. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.
April 1950. The Dining-Room in the Georgian west wing of Adlington. This was eighteenth-century elegance; but the massive sideboard struck a somewhat incongruous note amid pleasing simplicity. Both the south front and the west wing belonged to the Georgian period. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.

Note:-
While staying at Adlington Hall, Handel was inspired to write the Harmonious Blacksmith by hearing the notes from the anvil of the little wayside smithy near the hall.

HAINTON HALL

A house that has changed significantly as the result of two fires within five years and the need to downsize.

Hainton Hall has been in the Heneage family for some four centuries or so. The mansion has undergone many accidents and alterations, with contributions from architects Peter Atkinson, William Burn and James Hemmings. Image: Market Raisen Mail.

Hainton Hall stands on the Lincolnshire Wolds between Lincoln and Louth, and about seven miles south-west of Market Rasen. The mansion we see today looks very different to the one that stood here one hundred years ago. It was a large and handsome mansion standing in a well-wooded park of 145 acres, and the seat of the Heneage family since the reign of Henry III.

The hall was built in 1638 with later additions, and a rebuilding and raising of the west wing, and the facing of the whole house in stucco, by Peter Atkinson in 1809. A porch was added by William Burn in 1875.

However, a series of events in the first part of the twentieth century means that its modern appearance looks remarkably different.

In June 1919, a fire broke out at Hainton Hall, where Edward Heneage, 1st Baron Heneage (1840-1922) had just recovered from an illness that had lasted two months. He and Lady Eleanor Heneage, as well as a full complement of domestic staff, were in residence when the blaze was discovered.

The fire occurred on the afternoon of Sunday 8 June and the estate fire brigade had started tackling the flames before summoning fire brigades from Lincoln, Wragby and Grimsby. As was often the case the firemen were faced with the difficult task of securing ample water supplies, the only immediate source being from a small fishpond on the estate.

The firemen made strenuous efforts to overtake the already serious advance made by the fire, but the flames had made such headway that one wing of the mansion was very soon destroyed.

All available help was used to rescue furniture and valuables from inside, and these were carried out onto the lawn.

The fire was eventually brought under control around midnight. The firemen had successfully saved the south and west fronts, but the east wing, consisting of the servants’ quarters, had been lost.

It was later thought that a carelessly thrown peace celebration firework was responsible for the fire.

Although there were no casualties amongst its residents, a Grimsby fireman, Albert Barrcroft, was killed when he was pinned beneath half a ton of falling debris, and one of his colleagues, William Watkins, injured by the fire.

A brave fireman who died while tackling the fire at Hainton Hall in 1919. Image: Tony Emptage.

In the aftermath, Lord Heneage contributed £500 towards the support of the dead fireman’s widow and children, the Grimsby Fire Brigade Committee stating that £1,100 was available to the dependants. As a sequel to the fire, it later decided to insure its firemen against fatal accidents .

A view of the crowd at the Conservative Rally at Hainton Hall in July 1927. It appears that the house had been restored after a second fire a few years earlier. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.

Lord Heneage died in 1922, and by remarkable misfortune the mansion was to catch fire again in July 1924.

The outbreak was discovered in a suite of bedrooms by a maid-servant, probably caused by fused electrical wiring, and the estate fire appliances (that had been brought up to date since the fire of 1919) set to work. Unfortunately, they were inadequate to cope with the flames, and by the time the Lincoln Fire Brigade arrived an hour later the building was once again a mass of flames.

On this occasion, the new Lord Heneage, George Edward Heneage (1866-1954), was away at the Lincolnshire Show, a guest of Lord Yarborough, and returned immediately.

People from all over the district, attracted by clouds of dense smoke, arrived to render assistance in once again rescuing priceless art treasures and antique furniture and piling them high on the lawn. Lord Heneage, accompanied by his cousin, Lieut-Col A.P. Heneage, superintended the collection of articles.

This low-quality image of the west front at Hainton Hall appeared shortly after the fire of 1924 and the removal of most of the debris. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.

The damage was reported to run at ‘something like’ £25,000, the whole of the principal rooms completely gutted, and the ceiling of the drawing-room destroyed by water. An attempt to remove valuable books from the library had been abandoned because the roof had started to fall in, and molten lead was dripping from above. Ironically, the books were later found to be undamaged. Even though the library itself was saturated, the heavily recessed bookcases had saved most of the collection.

The dining-room had escaped damage but not so the Adam ceiling in the drawing-room where cracks had appeared in the delicate white and gold traceries.

The great Conservative Rally at Hainton Hall, being addressed by the Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, in July 1927. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.

The priceless collection of family portraits, going back to the sixteenth century, had suffered not so much from the fire itself, but as from moisture and the hasty way in which the pictures were carried to the lawn. Many were mottled by damp and others scratched or marked. A picture of Lord Heneage’s grandfather, presented by the tenantry in 1855, had a hole right through the canvas.

In a bizarre set of circumstances, sightseers flooded from all over the county to gain a glimpse of the hall, and for two days Lord Heneage threw the grounds open.

When the second Lord Heneage died in 1954 the estate passed to the nine-year-old James Neil Heneage from another branch of the family. During his minority the trustees demolished the east wing in 1956 and removed the top storey of the central block (even though it had been listed in 1952).  

In 1957 parts of the estate in Legsby, Barkwith, Torrington and Willingham were sold off largely to pay death duties.

Hainton Hall was reduced in size during the 1970s and its appearance significantly altered. Image: Parks and Gardens.

When James Heneage came of age and inherited the estate, he commissioned the architect W. H. Hemmings to rebalance the external appearance of the Hall, the work being completed in 1975. 

This photograph was taken in 1976. The top storey had been removed and the external appearance altered by W.H. Hemmings.

MAMHEAD HOUSE

This country house, described as “one of the finest houses in the South of England” was Anthony Salvin’s first major commission.

The magnificent Mamhead house which dominates the East Devon coastline has a rich and interesting history. Image: Strutt & Parker.

Mamhead House, in the Haldon Hills, Devon, is one of those country houses that hasn’t been able to find its identity in recent times. For many years we have known this Grade I-listed Tudor-Gothic property as Mamhead Park, and it has just been launched on the market at Strutt & Parker, price on application.

The impressive late Georgian country house that today stands overlooking the dramatic scenery of the coast was built in 1833, replacing a much older house. Image: Strutt & Parker.

This is one of many houses that has stood on the estate. Mentioned in the Domesday Book, the estate passed through several distinguished families. In 1547 it was bought by the Balle family. In 1672, Peter Balle, an attorney to Queen Henrietta Mara, was awarded a baronetcy for his services. Later, William of Orange billeted his supporters on the estate. It passed into the hands of the Earl of Lisburne who sold it to Robert William Newman, MP, in 1822.

The imposing home was designed by celebrated English architect Anthony Salvin. An architect who was renowned for his expertise on medieval buildings and restored many castles and churches. Image: Dartmoor Archive.

Robert Newman was a senior partner of Newman and Co, general merchants of Dartmouth. Originally Hunt, Newman, Roope, Teague and Co, the company had buccaneered out to Newfoundland, and commenced selling salted codfish to Portugal in the 1500s, encountering wines of that country through bartering fish for wine. In time, the company built up its own shipping fleet.

Newman’s family motto ‘Ubi amor ibi fides’ (where there is love there is trust) is exquisitely carved above the grand front door. Image: Dartmoor Archive.

When Robert Newman bought Mamhead Park for £106,000 the original house was built on low-ground, without the views across the Exe Estuary. He turned to Charles Fowler, an architect born in Cullompton and articled in Exeter, who produced several E-shaped plans for his client. Fowler probably intended to rebuild Mamhead Park on the site of the existing house. Alas, Newman rejected each plan, excited by new building styles and preferring a new house about 400 yards up a hill to the west of the old mansion.

The classically proportioned house has played host to a great many kings, queens and distinguished royals from around the world. Queen Adelaide even had her own private bedroom, now entitled the Queen’s Room. Image: Dartmoor Archive.

Newman instead gambled on Anthony Salvin, an aspiring young architect, who grasped his first major commission. Built of mellow Bath stone, Salvin retained one of Fowler’s original ground plans into the design and construction commenced in 1827 and the shell completed by the following year. It was a slow-build. The new house was funded out of Newman’s income and its interiors weren’t completed until 1833.

The beautiful building boasts a glorious facade constructed out of mellow Bath stone and is made up of ornate stone carvings and towering chimneys. Image: Strutt & Parker.

Mamhead Park was a ‘marriage house’ for his new bride, Mary, and one befitting a man of his status. Robert Newman had become MP for Exeter in 1818 and became a baronet in 1836.

He was succeeded by his son, Captain. Sir Robert Lydston Newman, who was killed at the Battle of Inkerman in November 1854, and Mamhead passed to his brother, Sir Lydston Newman, whose son, a prominent churchman, was created Lord Mamhead in 1931.

He died unmarried in 1945, leaving life tenancy of the estate to his brother-in-law, Frederick Lumley.

The romance of the place is unquestionable even from afar and only grows as we encounter the beautifully restored wood panelling, fine plaster work and beautiful stained glass—designed by Thomas Willement, heraldic artist to William IV— of the interiors. Image: Strutt & Parker.

On succeeding in 1948, Sir Ralph Newman, great-grandson of the first baronet, was able to buy back furnishings but eventually abandoned the idea of living on a grand scale.

In 1954, he sold the estate, but retained the house and 20 acres, choosing to let the fully furnished property to an evangelical organisation. Mamhead was sold to Dawlish College for Boys in 1963 and was acquired by a property company in 1988, who converted the house and stables into offices, at one time occupied by the Forestry Commission.

The property seems to have a natural flow as we are transported from beautiful room to beautiful room; some of the most impressive being the oak room, dining room, library and drawing rooms. Image: Strutt & Parker.

Mamhead Park returned to private use in 2000 and twelve years later was bought by a group of overseas investors, headed by Richard Fuller, for £8 million.

After considering various uses, including an ill-fated wedding business, the mansion is once again available to buy.

The property also features a music room, summer dining room, sitting room, study, snooker room and snug, Image: Strutt & Parker.

The sale also includes Grade II*-listed Mamhead Castle, also designed by Salvin as stables at the same time as the big house, a copy of a pele tower at 14th century Belsay Castle in Northumberland, and currently providing six office suites.  

One of the most intriguing things about Mamhead though is the fact that it has its own Grade II listed castle on the grounds. Believed to be an architectural copy of Belsay Castle in Northumberland, the astonishing building is constructed of local red sandstone in the baronial Gothic style and was originally used as stabling and a brewery. Image: Strutt & Parker.