One of the largest stately homes in England came up for sale this year, just a few miles from Oundle.
Lilford Hall is a Grade I Jacobean manor house with Georgian alterations and additions. The house has over one hundred rooms, including a grand entrance hall, seven reception rooms, two dining rooms, a theatre, a ballroom and nine bedrooms, amounting to 32,406 square feet.
The house comes with three cottages, two Georgian pavilions and is set in 321 acres, over 127 acres of which are on long leasehold.
The Hall is on the market for £10m by Savills.
The current owners have done extensive restoration work since they bought the property in 2004, but the effort to restore dozens of rooms remains an ongoing project.
In 2019, Historic England listed the house on its At Risk Register. According to their report, the roof covering was in poor condition leading to water ingress and distress to the upper storeys, and the front bays required structural attention. “A schedule of urgent repairs has been identified but not implemented, and no long-term solution has been agreed.”
The immediate garden to the Hall is located next to the south wing. A stone terrace looks over the lawn which is lined by trees on each side and enclosed by a stone balustrade. Two sets of stone steps lead down from a higher lawn to the lower. At the centre of the Hall is a courtyard which is accessed from the back door, down steps that lead to the cobbled central walkway. On either side of this walkway are rows of box hedges and trees.
The gardens at Lilford are known as the Formal Gardens or the Pleasure Grounds, and are separate from the house. They are vast and sub-divided into sections; the Children’s Garden, The Broad Walk and the Rockery which cover an area of approximately five acres on the east side of the estate. However, the gardens are currently overgrown and would need work to restore them.
Lilford Hall has a long and unique history; the Tudor part of the house dates to 1495, with Jacobean extensions and Georgian alterations. The Hall is best known for being the family home of Robert Browne (1550-1633), The Father of the Pilgrims and The Grandfather of the Nation (USA), due to his teachings about the separation of the church from the state, a founding principle of American democracy.
The Powys family acquired the estate in 1711 and the barony was created in 1797. The 4th Baron Lilford, Thomas Littleton Powys (1833-1896) was a prominent ornithologist, and kept a large variety of birds in aviaries at Lilford. He was responsible for the introduction of the Little Owl into England in the 1880s.
1 December 2020