Country houses for sale

A love-at-first-sight Georgian mansion for sale, set in 70 acres of parkland created by Humphry Repton

Penny Churchill looks at Rivenhall Place in Essex, the sort of place you can't help falling for.

Tucked away in the bucolic heart of rural Essex, half-way between Chelmsford and Colchester, one of the county’s prettiest country houses has come up for sale via Mark Rimell of Strutt & Parker’s country department. ‘Offers over £4.6m’ are sought for Grade II*-listed Rivenhall Place at Rivenhall, which overlooks twin lakes at the heart of 68 acres of woods and rolling parkland designed by Humphry Repton, three miles from Witham.

It’s the sort of place with which people fall in love. Indeed a previous owner, Kate Ashton, told Country Life back in 2013 that she had been so smitten she’d bought it almost on impulse: she had come to Essex looking for a cottage in which to spend weekends, only to end up buying a (then-somewhat-crumbling) Georgian mansion with dozens of acres of land.

The Humphry Repton parkland at Rivenhall Place, Essex.

Extensively restored in recent years (both by Mrs Ashton and those who took it on from her a decade ago) the main house offers 11,560sq ft of easy living space, including three fine reception rooms, a sitting room, study, kitchen/breakfast room and orangery.

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The principal bedroom suite and four further bedrooms are on the first floor, and three more bedrooms and a games room on the second floor.

Space for everyone at Rivenhall.

Amenities include a tennis court, a swimming pool and hot tub, the latter concealed behind mature yew hedges. The three-bedroom cottage adjoining the house is currently let through Airbnb and provides a useful income.

Early records suggest that the grounds of Rivenhall Place were part of a hunting park owned by Edith of Wessex, who married Edward the Confessor and was Queen of England from 1045 to 1066.

In 1590, the house was bought by Ralph Wiseman, the head of a Catholic family whose priest’s hole in the fireplace of the Great Hall can still be seen. Three generations later, the Wisemans sold the house to the Western family, who renamed it Rivenhall Place.

Repton took on Rivenhall Place as his first commission in Essex in 1789, adding the second lake and the bridge, as well as advising on the transformation of the house into the Georgian style.

Rivenhall Place is for sale via Strutt & Parker at £4.6m — see more details and pictures.

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