‘One of the biggest country house sales of the century so far’ is under way, a superb and historic £32m property in Kent

The amazing and exquisite Linton Park is up for sale with a price tag of £32 million. Penny Churchill reports.

Grade I listed Linton Park, with its gardens, woods and parkland overlooking the Weald, four miles south of Maidstone, Grade II* listed properties, promises to be one of the most successful country home sales in this year, if not the entire century to date. .

Described by Mark McAndrew of sales agents Strutt & Parker as “a gem in the heart of the English Garden,” the Linton Park estate includes the impeccably restored 28,824 sq. rooms, a dining kitchen and extensive household offices; 20 acres of magnificent gardens, a historic park, a lake and a cricket field, about 440 acres in total; and a carriage house with an apartment upstairs, and 16 other residential buildings, all in excellent condition and bringing in a considerable income. He gives an estimated price of “an additional £32 million” for the estate as a whole.

Alternatively, bids in excess of £17.5m are being accepted for Lot 1, which includes the striking stucco-fronted main house, carriage house, gatehouse, gardens, grounds, parkland, lake and cricket pitch – in total approx. 316 acres; Lot 2, a residential portfolio of 13 houses and cottages for rent with guaranteed short-term rent or services, requires “bids in excess of £13.5m”, with “bids in excess of £1m” being solicited for Ranters Land, 96 acres. good arable and wooded areas to the south of the property, separated from Butt Green Lane parkland.

Saloon, Linton Park, Kent.

In the first of two rural life articles by longtime architecture magazine editor Christopher Hussey (March 29 and April 5, 1946), the Linton Park setting is laid out in all its glory: “Looking out over Kentish Weald, Linton’s white façade shines on the ridge that forms its northern edge, a familiar landmark visible 20 miles away. Approaching the ridge along a wide and magnificent beech avenue, suddenly the ground sinks, the beeches give way to tall elms, and you see the house below with the blue expanse of the Wild extending for a moment beyond and above it. It’s a breathtaking sight that you won’t see again until you step onto the terrace along the south front…”

The site, naturally favored by its full southern exposure, protection from the north, and sufficient height to be above the spring frost level, was further protected for two centuries by plantings on the sides, so that the terraces and adjacent slopes were occupied by horticulture. benefits in addition to a rich soil long renowned for its fruits and crops. It was these conditions, says Hussey, that attracted Olaf Hambro, of the banking family of the same name, when he purchased Linton from Lord Cornwallis in 1937. Hussey himself was already familiar with the magnificent estate plantings made by successive generations of the Cornwallis family, which were originally described in rural life in an article in February 1899.

From the late 12th century until the early 1700s, a house called Capell’s Court stood on the site where Linton Park stands. Around 1730, this house was demolished by the then owner of the estate, Sir Robert Mann, who built the first part of the current house. After his death in 1751, the house passed to his son Edward and, in turn, to Edward’s brother, the diplomat Sir Horace Mann, who lived permanently in Florence. Sir Horace was a friend and longtime correspondent of Horace Walpole who, after Edward Mann’s visit to Linton in 1757, wrote to Sir Horace that “the house is in order and stands as the stronghold of Kent; the whole region is his garden.”

Canteen in Linton Park, Kent.

Large additions were made by the 5th Earl Cornwallis around 1825, when an architectural refurbishment of the garden and south front was also undertaken. The building work was carried out by Thomas Cubitt, who added a third floor to the original house, with two-story wings on either side, possibly designed by George Basevie. The layout of the gardens was greatly influenced by the Scottish garden designer John Claudius Loudon, one of the early proponents of the “Gardenesk” theory of garden design, who visited Linton in 1825.

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On the eve of the Second World War, Hambro’s main task was to reduce the Victorian scope of the house to a manageable size, while restoring something of its original Georgian character to the interior. Outside, the walled service yard to the northeast remains from the extensive servants’ yard built around 1825 and demolished by Hambro after 1938.

After Hambro’s death in 1961, Linton Park was acquired by the Daubeny family. Thirteen years later, in 1974, the house and surrounding land were sold to Freemasons and used as a school for a time, before being acquired in 1985 by its current owners, Camellia Group PLC, a British agricultural group with subsidiaries. in 10 countries producing major crops including macadamia, avocado and tea, as well as more specialized crops such as wine grapes and blueberries.

Corridor, Linton Park, Kent.

With headquarters in Linton Park, the company embarked on a long-term project to restore the estate, which by then was in a terrible state of disrepair. The company was headquartered on the upper floors of the main house, while stately 18th-century rooms have been meticulously restored to their historic splendor, to the point where original portraits of the Cornwallis family have been hung on the walls of the dining room. When formerly Linton Park land, cottages and parkland reappeared on the market in 2015, Camellia moved in to buy them, restoring the estate to its original size and configuration, to the delight of company chairman Malcolm Perkins. whom it was “work done”.

“With planning consent to rehabilitate Linton Park for residential use now in place, all that remains for the new owner to do is restore the half-dozen bathrooms that were used as offices,” says Mr. McAndrew enthusiastically. , which even in these unreadable times awaits a flood of requests from all over the world.

Linton Park is sold through your local Strutt & Parker office – contact your agent for more details.

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