One of Oxfordshire?s most extraordinary houses, Ewelme Down House at Ewelme near Wallingford, stands right at the top of Ewelme Down on the edge of the Chilterns overlooking the ancient village of Ewelme and the entire Thames valley.

Set in 68.5 acres of landscaped ornamental grounds and woodland, the house was built in Scottish Baronial style between the late 1890s and 1905 by the architect Walter Frederick Cave.

It is no coincidence that Ewelme Down was built after the invention of the motor car. As an article in Country Life (March 23, 1912) points out: ?How else would the choice of such a remarkable site be possible?? Motoring was a recurring theme at Ewelme Down, for in the 1930s the Oxford and Cambridge motoring clubs met here regularly to use the long drive as a racetrack.

In 1924, the house and garden were featured in a book by Gertrude Jekyll. Ewelme Down has appeared in Country Life a number of times down the years.

In 1980, Knight Frank advertised Ewelme Down for sale with four reception rooms, 12 bedrooms, six bathrooms, five cottages and 75 acres of gardens, grounds and woodlands at a guide price of £400,000. Twenty-five years later, on July 14, Knight Frank (020?7629 8171) and Savills (020?7499 8644) advertised Ewelme Down for sale in Country Life with few alterations at a guide price of £12m.

This article was originally published in Country Life magazine, October 6, 2005. To subscribe click here.