Country houses for sale

A fabulous Hertfordshire country house with a swimming pool that’s like stepping back into Ancient Rome

Penny Churchill looks at Julians Park, fresh to the market, in the commuter heartlands of Hertford yet with a wonderfully secluded feel.

The 20th century was a time of relative peace and plenty at Julians Park. This secluded, 183-acre residential and farming estate sits on the edge of the small rural village of Rushden, six miles from Baldock and eight miles from the commuter hub of Stevenage in north Hertfordshire. It’s now for sale via Strutt & Parker at £5.75 million.

At its heart stands a beautifully proportioned Georgian house, listed Grade II*. Originally known as Rushden Place, it was built in 1605 for William Stone, re-fronted and remodelled in 1710 for one Adolphus Meetkerke and further altered in the late 1930s by Col Reginald Cooper.

An article by Christopher Hussey in Country Life (June 20, 1947) sets the scene of ‘Julians, in the arable country near Buntingford’:

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‘It is an old house, originally built in Jacobean times and reconstructed during the 18th century. But its present appearance, setting and internal character are barely 10 years old. As we see them today, they are due to Mrs Pleydell-Bouverie, since she came to live here in 1940, and during whose time the garden has come to maturity. But the actual restoration of the place was done during 1937–39 by Col Reginald Cooper, whose remarkable flair for discovering and resurrecting derelict houses has already been illustrated at Cothay Manor, Devon (Country Life, October 22/29, 1927).’

Col Cooper reinstated the enclosed court, which had been replaced by an informal carriage sweep, remodelled the gardens to the north of the house and added a dramatic, Roman-style swimming pool set in one of the walled gardens.

He also created the single-storey wing at the side of the house that contains the magnificent, 59ft-long music room.

The current owners have been there since the 1940s and the house remains much as it was then, apart from the addition of a new kitchen and the conversion of part of the stable block to a comfortable, four-bedroom house.

For Mark Rimell of Strutt & Parker, who is handling the sale of the estate at a guide price of £5.75m, Julians Park, with its timeless charm and 12,755sq ft of accommodation, including five reception rooms and 10 bedrooms, is his ‘very favourite house in the whole of Hertfordshire’.

Julians Park is for sale via Strutt & Parker at £5.75 million — see more details and pictures.

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