Country houses for sale

A £12.75 million masterpiece in Buckinghamshire once owned by JFK’s sister-in-law

Penny Churchill looks on in wonder at the beautiful, sprawling Turville Grange, a house full of exquisite design and history.

In a leafy corner of Buckinghamshire, Paddy Dring of Knight Frank’s country department is handling the re-launch onto the market of charming, Grade II-listed Turville Grange in the village of Turville Heath, seven miles from Henley-on-Thames and 14 miles from High Wycombe.

Paddy quotes a guide price of £12.75m for the pretty 18th-century house set in some 49 acres of gardens, grounds and heathland in a part of the Chilterns renowned for its beauty, where the presence of a number of substantial private estates ensures that the countryside thereabouts is maintained in immaculate order.

The elegant, two-storey, main house has changed much in its 200+ years, but as it stands now offers some 8,000sq ft of friendly living space including a reception hall by Renzo Mongiardino, three principal reception rooms, a kitchen/breakfast room, various domestic offices and four bedroom suites, with two further bedroom suites off the nearby courtyard.

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Outside, in a quiet, tree-lined area of the grounds, the former pool house has been rebuilt to provide a further guest suite within a state-of-the-art gym and swimming-pool complex.

The Grange is described in its listing as a mid- to late-18th-century house ‘much refurbished, altered and extended circa 1890 for Stephen Smith, with further extensions in the 20th century’. A parallel wing to the rear was added by Walter Tapper in the 1900s.

In the early 20th century, the Marquis and Marquise d’Hautpoul bought the house, added a further wing and erected lacy wrought-iron entrance gates given to them by Queen Alexandra, who was a close friend and a regular visitor.

A place to keep your socks? Why, yes, we think that could be arranged…

Some 50 years later, owners Lord and Lady Esher — he being a chairman of the National Trust, she an American heiress — asked their architect son, Lionel Brett, to improve the place.

This he did with some distinction, adding, among other things, a splendid Georgian front-door surround, cutting several dormer windows through the old tile roofs, and adding a Tuscan-columned loggia to one side.

By 1966, Brett had become the 4th Viscount Esher, with a fine country house of his own, and was happy to sell Turville Grange and its 51-acre estate to Jacqueline Kennedy’s younger sister, Lee Radziwill, and her husband, Prince Stanislas Radziwill, for £55,000.

Renovations at the Radziwills’ country retreat continued with a floral re-design of the entrance hall by Mongiardino, who also decorated the couple’s London residence, with further contributions by stage designer Lila de Nobili and landscape designer Lanning Roper.

Since the Radziwills’ day, the house has been owned by the family of a well-known American businessman, who has further improved the house and grounds.

Turville Grange is for sale via Knight Frank — see more pictures and details.