A simply exquisite Lutyens-style house with art studio and 35 glorious acres, on sale for the first time in half a century

Lord’s Wood is a true work of love that has been in the same ownership since 1974 and is meticulously maintained. Penny Churchill is watching.

The vagaries of the real estate market, as well as the financial and mortgage market over the past few years, have created all sorts of anomalies in recent months. Buyers come and go, plans change, investments rise and fall, and ownership chains break, meaning homes sometimes disappear from sale, only to reappear.

Just this week, we reported the re-emergence of one such home, Knightstone Manor in Devon, six months after it had the misfortune of being launched amid last fall’s disastrous Trussonomics.

Today we take a look at another site that has been similarly unlucky for an even longer period of time since it was listed for sale 18 months ago: Grade II listed Lord’s Wood near Marlow, Buckinghamshire, which is relaunching for £8 million by Knight Frank. .

Prior to its initial sale in November 2021, Lord’s Wood last appeared on the open market in November 1973 when an article was published in rural life oddly enough, he was dismissive of the architectural merit of a beautiful house in the style of Lutyens. Half a century or so later, it’s hard to see why.

The house was built in 1899 for the artist Mary Sargant-Florence, a prominent member of the Bloomsbury Group, whose daughter Alix married James Strachey, the younger brother of founding member Lytton Strachey.

The opening paragraph reads: “The house hardly deserves a second look as a piece of architecture; you can see dozens of these in the Millionaire’s Belt north of Regent’s Park, or in the more plush in-between South Coast resorts. But since the contents have been scattered, and since the house will no doubt disappear into the anonymity of the managing director, it is worth recording its history in the form of a Bloomsbury footnote.”

Far from disappearing into the “anonymity of the managing director”, a year later the “For Sale” sign for Lord’s Wood caught the attention of London art dealer David Messum and his wife Millie, who then lived in Old Beaconsfield. They bought him within a week without ordering a survey and apparently unaware of his Bloomsbury connection.

Now, 50 years later, the house and its former studio, set on 35 acres of extensive gardens and grounds in the beech-clad hills of AONB’s Chilterns, north of Marlow, have transformed the home and its former studio into a charming country home of rare distinction and a showcase for art and sculpture. , Messums are ready to move on. Consequently, Lords Wood is being sold through Knight Frank’s country department for an estimated price of £8 million.

Mary Sargan-Florence was a suffragist and ardent feminist who insisted on keeping her maiden name when she married Henry Florence, an American music student, in 1888. He died in the early 1890s, and a few years later Sargan-Florence decided to build a country house for herself, her son Philip, and daughter Alix.

She settled in Marlow, which was then home to an artists’ colony led by the sculptor and potter Conrad Dressler. True to her feminist beliefs, she attempted to change the name of the property to Lady Wood, but tradition prevailed and she remained Lords Wood.

Its architect, Granville Streatfield, who had studied with Reginald Blomfield and the eminent Sir Thomas Graham Jackson and married suffragette Lucy Dean, Britain’s first female factory inspector, designed a new house built of local brick under a Westmorland slate roof in the Queen Anne style. day.

Sargant-Florence adopted the functional principles of William Morris and controlled every stage of assembly. Plastering was not allowed on the walls; many doorways were left without doors and covered only with curtains. Toilets were taboo, and it wasn’t until Alix and her husband moved to Lord’s Wood during World War II that the house’s plumbing was modernized.

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Both were psychoanalysts chosen by Freud to translate his work into English, a gigantic task they performed at Lord’s Wood, where they had lived permanently since Sargant-Florence’s death in 1954, surrounded by souvenirs from Bloomsbury’s past.

All this is a long way from Lord’s Wood today, after almost half a century of Messums’ reign, during which a lot of creative energy, inspiration and cash have been spent transforming every aspect of the home and garden. During their existence, stairs have been moved, walls have been removed, fireplaces have been rebuilt and exposed pipes and electrical wires have been hidden, but important original features such as high ceilings, classic cornices, antique fireplaces and elegant windows have been carefully preserved.

The main house offers 4,964 sq. m of elegant living space on three floors, including a bright and cheerful reception hall; a large living room with French windows overlooking the parterre garden; a slightly altered hexagonal dining room overlooking the gardens; and a bright and airy kitchen/breakfast room.

On the first floor there is a master bedroom, three double bedrooms (two en-suite) and a separate shower room, and on the second floor there are three more double bedrooms, one bedroom, a bathroom and a hobby room.

Near the house is a large studio where Sargant-Florence worked as a muralist and where she trained artist Stanley Spencer in the craft of mural painting. It is currently used as an art gallery/office complex and offers an additional 2,393 sq. feet of usable space on two floors. Outbuildings include Lytton Barn and James Barn which are currently used for storage but may be converted subject to planning approval.

And so in Lords Wood main dish-five acres of beautiful gardens painstakingly created through the combined efforts of the Messum family over the years. They have richly planted grassy borders, mature trees, yew and shearing hedges, parterre planted with boxwood, a flagstone terrace, and a regular garden, mostly lawned.

A pergola-style path leads to flowery meadows with stunning views of the Chilterns, while the private grounds, accessed through a brick archway, features an outdoor swimming pool, great for entertaining.

Lord’s Wood is currently being sold through Knight Frank for an estimated £8 million – see more photos or contact an agent for more information.

Marlow: What you need to know

Location: In the Chiltern Hills, AONB, just under 5 miles from High Wycombe and about 5.7 miles from Maidenhead. Marlow station provides rail links to London’s Paddington. There are other rail services at High Wycombe and Maidenhead. Heathrow is approximately 25 miles from the hotel.

Atmosphere: The popular city has a bustling and friendly atmosphere and is known as one of the most beautiful places on the banks of the Thames. The city attracts a large number of visitors due to its beautiful setting and is widely known as the place where Mary Shelley finished her gothic novel Frankenstein.

Things to be done: The Georgian market town has many boutiques, restaurants and cafes. The annual summer regatta is held in June with family races and events. There are many walks, including the Thames Way, as well as the Pub Festival in the Park, which takes place every September.

Schools: Schooling in the area is fantastic, including St. Peter’s Catholic Primary School, Sir William Borlas School in Marlow, Eton College and Wycombe College.

View more properties for sale in the area.

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