Country houses for sale

The country retreat where JM Barrie dreamed up Peter Pan to entertain three young houseguests

One of the most enduring creations in children's literature was inspired by Barrie's summers spent at this wonderful home in the Surrey Hills.

Sitting within an acre and a half of land on the edge of Bourne Wood is Lobswood House, a period home that has been sympathetically renovated to retain the charm which produced one of Britain’s best-loved literary characters.

Currently for sale through Strutt & Parker at a guide pride of £1.35 million, this beautiful period property just south of Farnham in the Surrey Hills AONB boasts six bedrooms, four bathrooms and a wealth of literary history.

Originally called ‘Black Lake Cottage’, the stunning open-plan country house was the summer retreat of author Sir JM Barrie from 1901 to 1908, the years in which he created Peter Pan. At the house in the summer of 1901, Barrie made a photo-book called  The Boy Castaways of Black Lake Island, charting the adventures of the three Llewelyn Davies boys. – the sons of Barrie’s London neighbours and close family friends, who often stayed with the writer at the cottage. Barrie created the character of Peter Pan to entertain the boys, spinning out a tale about how the youngest of the brothers (Peter) could fly. The first novel featuring Peter Pan, The Little White Bird, was published in 1902, with the stage play Peter Pan – which turned the character into a global success – coming two years later.

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Barrie drew inspiration from Bourne Wood and Lobswood’s gardens – impeccably developed and enlarged by his wife, Mary – during the summers of 1901 to 1908, while Mary transformed the cottage into the wonderfully bright family home it is today.

The author of her own book, The Happy Garden, Mary Ansell leased Lobswood House after six years of childless marriage as the couple’s second home. She spent her time in the garden while James, often absent altogether, shut himself in the bedroom to work.

The interior has been lovingly refurbished since the Barries left the in 1908. The beamed dining room flows seamlessly into the large kitchen, where the red bricks of the original cottage have been exposed and imaginatively incorporated into the décor, giving the room a wholesome, rustic feeling.

A substantial extension added to the property in 2015 provides two further bedrooms and an additional bathroom, with an airy reception room which looks out onto the heated swimming pool and pool house – complete with a changing room, shower, kitchenette and a large games room.

The property also boasts a wide gravel drive, charming water garden and a tennis court – though the latter is now in need of refurbishment.

Lobswood House is for sale via Strutt & Parker – see more details and pictures.