Country houses for sale

A striking Arts-and-Crafts house in Wiltshire with a glorious racing past

An Arts and Crafts treasure, The Grange, in Wiltshire, is also a reminder of a golden era in Thoroughbred racing.

The launch onto the market of an Arts-and-Crafts-style gem, The Grange at Beckhampton, near Marlborough, Wiltshire, at ‘offers over £3.25 million’ through Oxford-based agents The Country House Department, recalls a golden era in the history of Thoroughbred racing, when Beckhampton Stables was home to a succession of legendary trainers, among them Fred Darling, Sir Noel Murless and Jeremy Tree.

Located at the end of a tree-lined gravel drive, The Grange sits at the centre of 9¾ acres of land on the edge of Beckhampton, with outstanding views over the neighbouring gallops and the rolling acres of the North Wessex Downs AONB.

Cleverly updated by its present owners, who acquired it in 2011, the house offers a compelling mix of fresh, light and modern spaces, including four spacious reception rooms, five bedrooms and five bath/shower rooms.

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The 5,700sq ft interiors are rich in period features, particularly in the magnificent drawing room, which has high ceilings, mullioned windows and direct access to an original Edwardian orangery.

The house also comes with a one-bedroom lodge, a gun room and library, tennis court and swimming pool, plus glorious gardens, gym and stableyard with a tack room and garden room.

The property was built in the 1920s by Herbert Blagrave, scion of an illustrious Berkshire family who inherited a large estate in Reading and its environs on his father’s death in 1926.

This allowed Blagrave to establish his own private training establishment close to the property owned by champion trainer Darling, where he trained a small string of about 20 horses for himself and his wife, Gwen.

A decade later, Blagrave purchased the Harwood Stud near Newbury from the estate of Lady James Douglas, owner and breeder of the 1918 Triple Crown winner Gainsborough, who became the stud’s founding stallion.

Blagrave believed in the fusion of top-class French and English bloodlines and sourced most of his French stock through the celebrated breeder and theatre impresario Leon Volterra, whose influential Bois Roussel Stud had a huge impact on British racing in the post-war years.

Blagrave shored up his stud-farm portfolio by acquiring Darling’s stable and gallops at Beckhampton in 1954, leasing them back to Sir Gordon Richards and new incumbent Tree, who was eventually succeeded by his long-time assistant, Roger Charlton.

On Blagrave’s death in 1981, the successful Harwood Stud, now the Gainsborough Stud, was bought by Maktoum Al Maktoum before passing to Sheikh Maktoum’s brother, Sheikh Mohammed.

The Grange is for sale at £3.25 million via The Country House Department — see more pictures or enquire with the agent for further details.

Beckhampton: What you need to know

  • Location: Beckhampton is 12 minutes’ drive from Marlborough.
  • Things to do: The standing stone circle at Avebury is only a few minutes’ away from Beckhampton and well worth a visit, as is the nearby The Waggon & Horses Inn of Pickwick Papers’ fame. there are plenty of interesting local walks, including at Knoll Wood and Oldbury Hill Fort. Plenty of culture, shopping and entertainment opportunities are available in nearby Devizes.
  • Schools: There are plenty of excellent schools in the area, including Marlborough College and St Mary’s Calne.

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