Described as ‘The most beautiful of all the Bloomsbury houses’ by biographer, critic and art historian Frances Spalding, Hilton Hall was bought by David Garnett, author of Lady into Fox in 1924. There he entertained many literary friends: T E Lawrence would startle the village by roaring up unannounced on his motorbike; Virginia Woolf came and amused his boys by pretending to be a wolf. D H Lawrence teased him for living in a Hall, but added: ‘It’s not at all grand, except in the way a grandmother is grand, by being ancient’.
Hilton Hall was built early in the 17th century perhaps by Robert Walpole, (a very distant relative of the prime minister) who died there in 1699 and is buried in Hilton Church. It was refronted and given new sash windows and panelling in the middle of the 18th century but the fine Jacobean staircase, wide floorboards and moulded beams all remain. Otherwise it has been very little altered except by an extension containing panelling and a bay window salvaged from the ruins of Old Park Farm in Hilton.
Behind the house there is a large dovehouse, also of the 17th century, which was used by Garnett’s second wife, Angelica, as a studio. She is the daughter of the Bloomsbury artists Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, and is herself a noted artist. She has left her mark on the house with a decorated bedroom mantelpiece, a large mural in the dovehouse and a mosaic doorstep.
Because of its place in the history of the Bloomsbury Group, and its collection of paintings and sculpture – especially by Angelica’s parents, it has been a popular destination for groups from the Cambridge branch of the Art Fund and the Friends of Kettle Yard.
The grounds are all enclosed by hedging and fencing. Swimming pool, kitchen garden.
Guide Price £1,500,000 Contact Cheffins: 01223 214214