Country houses for sale

A sprawling Bedfordshire mansion on the market for the first time in 80 years

Grade II-listed Lynch House in Kensworth, Bedfordshire, has hosted several significant individuals, including the politician who may have been the inspiration for Big Brother in George Orwell's 1984

Grade II-listed Lynch House in Kensworth, Bedfordshire, has hosted several significant individuals, including the politician who may have been the inspiration for George Orwell's 1984.

The delightful, Grade II-listed Lynch House stands in 3¼ acres of lovely gardens and grounds in the village of Kensworth, eight miles from Harpenden and 11 miles from the cathedral city of St Albans, Hertfordshire. It is newly listed with the Savills at a guide price of £2.95m.

In 1927, a valuer from the former Ministry of Public Buildings and Works visited Lynch House — then owned by the trustees of Benjamin Bennett’s Kensworth estate — to carry out a valuation for rating purposes.

He summarised it as follows: ‘A real old Georgian House. Typical of its period. Slightly modernised but kitchen and attics very bad. Central Heating. No electric light. Charming front but small and old fashioned inside.’

Thankfully, things have improved since then.

It offers traditional accommodation on two main floors

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From 1928 Lynch House was let out to a series of tenants, including retired diplomant Sir Walter Beaupré Townley (who’d served as British ambassador to Romania, Persia and the Netherlands) and one Brendan Bracken, a larger-than-life Irishman from Co Tipperary, who leased Lynch House from 1931.

Bracken served as a Conservative MP from 1929 until 1952, becoming Churchill’s Minister of Information from 1941 to 1945 at a time when the ministry employed Eileen Blair, first wife of Eric Arthur Blair, better known as George Orwell. The writer was himself working on propaganda for the BBC at the time, and many have speculated that Bracken and his policies were were a key inspiration for the novel 1984. He might even have inspired the name ‘Big Brother’ itself: Bracken was known throughout Whitehall as BB.

The attractive grounds have been well maintained

The Kensworth estate was split up and auctioned off in 1943, when Lynch House, by then in good order throughout, was sold with its pleasure grounds, described as ‘beautifully timbered and tastefully laid out with two kitchen gardens… the whole property screened from the road by a belt of coniferous and other trees’.

Since then, Lynch House has been owned by successive generations of the same family and is on the market for the first time in almost 80 years.

The house is on the market for the first time in almost eight decades

Although now in need of updating, the house has been re-plumbed, rewired and well maintained over the years. It offers traditional accommodation on two main floors, including four fine reception rooms, a kitchen/breakfast room, a sitting room, six bedrooms and five bathrooms, with three versatile attic rooms on the second floor.

The sale includes the modernised, two-bedroom Lynch House Cottage in the courtyard behind the house, and a barn with potential for conversion to a games or entertaining area, subject to the usual consents.

Lynch House is listed with Savills at a guide price of £2.95m.


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