The Dh80m country house estate near London comes with a rich history
There are many reasons why people splash out on a luxury property – status, location, space, seclusion and history being five of the top requirements.
Dunsborough Park, a country house estate less than 42 kilometres from London, near the Surrey village of Ripley, is a property that offers them all.
The £17 million (Dh80.5m) estate is spread over 43.67 hectares of land, containing a 17th century farmhouse at its core, which enjoys a Grade II heritage listing status from English Heritage. There are a further 10 cottages, a major stables and paddocks, tennis courts, garages and extensive gardens and parklands.
The farmhouse has been extended a number of times throughout the centuries, with the first major reworking in the 18th century when the estate was bought by Lieutenant George Onslow, a member of parliament for Guildford. It was then owned by a series of local dignitaries, including former pilot and socialite Charles Hughesden, whose marriage to film star Florence Desmond meant the house became a regular party venue for entertaining.
By the time Hughesden sold the estate in 1994, however, it had fallen into disrepair and its current owners, Baron Dolf and Baroness Caroline Sweerts de Landas Wyborgh, spent far more on restoring the estate than they did buying it.
The result is unbelievably grand. It has five main reception rooms, including a drawing room with a floral silk and cotton wall covering, marble fireplace and full height windows. There is also a dining room with marble fireplace and Italian hand-painted hessian wallpaper, a morning room, card room, sitting room, snug, a breakfast room and a large conservatory. The main house also has eight double bedrooms.
Within the outbuildings are a concert hall with a viewing gallery and cottages.
The property’s crowning glory is its formal gardens. These include a Dutch tulip garden, a secret garden with a 300 year-old mulberry tree. The gardens are opened to the public on certain days and have been used both as a wedding venue and a space for classical music concerts.
q&a golden age of glamour
Paul Finnegan, director of Savills’ country division, explains the appeal of Dunsborough Park:
Who would buy a house like this?
Dunsborough Park has all the hallmarks of a proper English country estate. As such, it is likely to appeal to someone wanting the tradition and grandeur of a country house but who is also seeking a lifestyle purchase.
What about its history?
Dunsborough was originally built as a farmhouse in the 17th century and has since been extended and altered by many owners The most notable changes were in the late 18th and 19th centuries, when successive generations of its owners, the Onslow family, enlarged and modernised the home. Dunsborough Park also has a Tudor-style gatehouse at the entrance as well as a bridge, pavilion and greenhouses which were installed by Oliver Simmonds MP, who bought the estate in the 1930s. Yet it was in the 1940s and 1950s when Dunsborough attracted a host of well-known visitors. Bought in 1948 by aviator Charles Hughesdon and his film star wife Florence Desmond, the likes of Ava Gardner, Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra were all guests at the glamorous parties hosted by the couple.
What are the neighbours like?
The Dunsborough Park estate offers complete privacy and seclusion for an owner. The estate sits on the edge of the picturesque Surrey village of Ripley, which has a pretty high street lined with historic buildings.
( courtesy of TheNational )