In an idyllic corner of Suffolk is The Woodlands, a house and estate listed for sale two centuries later by the same family.
In the delightful rural area of Suffolk, you’ll find The Woodlands, a substantial early Victorian country home set in 46 acres of gardens, parkland, woodland and farmland. The house and estate are near the village of Holbrook, six miles from Ipswich, on the Shotley Peninsula Area of Special Scientific Interest, and on the Suffolk Coast and AONB Heath; joint agents Tim Dancy of Jackson-Stops in Ipswich and George Bramley of Knight Frank’s regional office handle the sale.
Agents are quoting an estimated price of £2.5 million for the spectacular country property, which is listed for sale for the first time in its history and has been owned by five generations of the Hunter-Rodwell family since 1845, when eminent banker and Member of Parliament Benjamin Bridges Hunter-Rodwell, son of William Rodwell, mayor of Ipswich, built the Woodlands on the site of a former hunting lodge in this picturesque and quiet corner of Suffolk. The sale follows the death in 2019 of Andrew Hunter-Rodwell, who was the fifth member of his family to own the estate.
Alternatively, the property is being offered in three lots at an estimated price of £1.75 million for Lot 1, main house with gardens, yard and five acres of parkland, for a total of about 12 acres. Lot 2, valued at £250,000, includes three arable fields around the house (about 32 acres in total) being farmed under a three-generation farming agreement. Lot 3, offered for £500,000, is a range of farm buildings with a separate driveway and potential for a range of uses including farming, equestrianism or residential use, subject to normal planning requirements.
Benjamin’s son William, who qualified as a barrister in 1875 and was a JP in Suffolk, was a first-class cricketer and member of the MCC. He served in the Suffolk Yeomanry and married Constance Ruggles-Breeze of Spains Hall, where celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and his family now reside.
William’s eldest son, Sir Cecil Hunter-Rodwell, also served in the Suffolk Yeomanry and went on to a career overseas as a colonial administrator, serving as Governor of Fiji from 1918 to 1984, Governor of British Guiana from 1924 to 1928, and Governor of Southern Rhodesia from 1928 to 1934 Sir Cecil died in 1953, leaving the Woodlands to his eldest son, Colonel Evelyn Hunter-Rodwell, who served in World War II before returning to his roots in Suffolk, where over time he was a JP, malting partner and poultry farmer, and member at least 22 committees.
Colonel Hunter-Rodwell left the Woodlands to his eldest son Andrew, who built a home for his growing family on part of the Woodlands estate until his parents moved to nearby Statton and he and his family moved into a “big house”. His daughter, Miranda Kwiatkowski, recalls her idyllic childhood in the Woodlands, where she and her sisters Camilla and Patricia “ride ponies without any road and drive miles through picturesque countryside. Otherwise, we climbed trees, made holes, or went to the nearest beach, at Harkstead, a few miles away.”
The center of life was the house itself, especially the vast gallery hall with a wonderful vaulted ceiling with plaster panels and a beautiful wide oak staircase. Mrs. Kwiatkowski recalls her excitement when she saw a tall Christmas tree being set up in the hall, with “a red satin ribbon cascading down the stairs, and at that time it was not allowed to slide off the railing.” Another highlight was when her parents discovered marble fireplaces under layers of paint in the reception rooms.
Over the years, there have been many changes and improvements both inside and outside the house, where a swimming pool was installed, the original grass tennis court was opened, and the croquet lawn provided hours of entertainment for young and old. Today Woodlands is once again a blank canvas with over 9,700 sq. Feet of living space on three floors including a large reception hall, three main reception areas, kitchen/breakfast room, game room, office, two bedrooms, six more bedrooms, two bathrooms and two apartments.
Sales agent Mr. Dancy is optimistic about the prospects for this home of happy memories at a time when, he says, “there are still more buyers than sellers at this end of the market, and Woodlands is what everyone here is looking for – a classic country music. house with close ties to London.”
Woodlands is being sold through Jackson-Stops and Knight Frank for £2.5m for the entire house and estate – see more details and photos.
With wood paneling and armor in the lobby, the Home Counties Mansion is one of the gems on offer.