Country houses for sale

Elegant, beautiful and arresting, a Georgian house and estate in the heart of rural Herefordshire

The 266-acre Poston Court Estate, and the spectacular Georgian house at its centre, have come to the market. Penny Churchill takes a look.

Bounded by Shropshire to the north, Worcestershire to the east, Gloucestershire to the southeast, and the Welsh counties of Monmouthshire and Powys to the west, dreamy, landlocked Herefordshire, best known for its fruit, cider and cattle, is one of the smallest, least-populated and most rural counties in England.

Having tested the water at the height of the pandemic, Will Matthews of Knight Frank and Crispin Holborow of Savills are overseeing the relaunch onto the market of the pristine, 266-acre Poston Court estate at Vowchurch, nine miles from Hay-on-Wye and 11 miles from Hereford, at a guide price of £9.55 million.

The focal point of the estate is Grade II*-listed Poston House, which stands on the site of a medieval deer park high in the western hills, looking out over the glorious Golden Valley to the Black Mountains and the Forest of Dean.

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The original Georgian house was designed in 1765 by the architect Sir William Chambers, of Kew Gardens fame, as a shooting lodge for Sir Edward Boughton, whose father bought the manor of Poston from the 5th Duke of Beaufort’s trustees in 1749.

In the late 1800s, the house was altered and extended, with the addition of east and west wings. The estate grounds were laid out by Sir Thomas Robinson, who was master gardener to George III, and many of the magnificent trees seen at Poston today were planted at that time.

In the 1960s, the estate was sold to a local farmer, after which the ‘very charming shooting box’ mentioned in Pevsner went into rapid decline. By 1988, when Esmond and Susie Bulmer bought the Poston estate, the house was a virtual ruin, its classic late-18th-century rotunda a nesting place for hens.

A 2005 article by Mary Miers in Country Life (July 7, 2005) traces the transformation of Poston House from a forlorn wreck to an ‘arresting country house on a diminutive scale’, thanks to an inspired collaboration between the Bulmers, the architect Philip Jebb and master-builders Treasure & Son of Ludlow.

The remodelling of Poston House involved the restoration of the 18th-century core, comprising the south-facing round room, the hall, the staircase and the Doric portico, and the replacement of the Victorian wings by two-storey pavilions in keeping with the original Chambers design.

The former gate lodge, used as a farmhouse in Victorian times, was turned into a guest annexe, with buildings in the farm courtyard later converted into an office, a gardener’s cottage and garaging.

During their tenure, the present owners — who bought Poston Court in 2015 — have, according the agents, transformed ‘a timeless classical house into a modern masterpiece’, thanks to an extensive and minutely detailed programme of renovation, repair and/or rebuilding of the entire house, orangery and pool house, lodge, cottages and estate buildings, all carried out by a dedicated team of specialist craftsmen.

The main house offers 4,362sq ft of glamorous and colourful accommodation including an elegant drawing room, a comfortable library, a Chambers circular dining room, a bespoke Martin Moore kitchen and three bedroom suites, with a further three bedroom suites in Poston Lodge, and four further bedrooms in Poston Cottage.

The Poston Court Estate is for sale via Savills and Knight Franksee more pictures and details

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