With the second series of hit period drama Downton Abbey now under way, viewers will, no doubt, indulge in dreams of owning their own grand country house.
England’s stately homes have dominated the landscape and way of life in the countryside for many centuries. However social and economic changes at the beginning of the 20th century threatened the survival of the very fabric of these great buildings. As great ancestral homes fell into disrepair many were quite simply demolished, an estimated 1,200 great country houses were lost between 1900 and 1975. A handful were rescued by the National Trust, others found new owners or a variety of new uses as hotels, conference centres corporate headquarters or divided into apartments. By the last quarter of the 20th century the pendulum had swung firmly towards the protection, legislation and the work of such organisations as SAVE (Save Britain’s Heritage) arrested the loss of the country’s built heritage.
For those whose budgets do not stretch to the entire country house, there are opportunities to buy a slice of a grand country house. Recently renovated apartments offer the comfort and convenience of modern living, without the worry or costs associated with the maintenance of a complete country estate. Perhaps most importantly, they allow their owners to indulge in the country house lifestyle – from shared access to grand ballrooms and halls, to the ability to enjoy manicured gardens and grounds.
Jackson-Stops & Staff, York, is offering 1 Eshton Hall, a two storey apartment formerly one of the principal reception rooms of a Grade II* listed country house overlooking the Yorkshire Dales National Park. A house has stood on the site for many centuries and for the most part has remained in one family since the mid 1600s.
The current Hall was completed in 1826 for the Deputy Lieutenant of the West Riding. One of Europe’s leading private book collections was established at the house and Charlotte Bronte was a frequent visitor.
The two bedroom apartment, on the market for £565,000, occupies the ground and first floors of the south east corner of the Hall. Accessed by an impressive oak staircase, the open plan living/dining room is dominated by large picture windows, an original marble fireplace and fine plaster moulded ceiling.
Jackson-Stops & Staff have a range of homes in grand country houses for sale. A two bedroom apartment in the Grade II* Listed ‘calendar’ house, Holme Eden Hall, is currently offered at £249,000. A mezzanine apartment in Whitlingham Hall, offering shared access to a grand conservatory, is on the market at £385,000, and the wing of a Tudor Mansion set in 65 acres of formal gardens and grounds, currently for sale at £945,000.