In the 150th anniversary year of Lutyens’s birth it’s especially intriguing to find a house on the market undoubtedly designed by the great man, with gardens created
by his friend and mentor, Gertrude Jekyll.
Grade II-listed Warren Mere is two miles from Thursley and nine miles south-west of Guildford, in the Surrey Hills AONB. For sale through Knight Frank at a guide price of £4.5 million with 63 acres of woodland, pasture, lakes and gardens, Warren Mere stands in the centre of its land, overlooking one of its three large lakes.
One of Lutyens’s first country houses, originally known as Warren Lodge, the young architect altered and extended the original 16th-century building for his friends Robert and Barbara Webb in 1896–7, with gardens laid out by Jekyll.
Although Warren Mere is one of Lutyens’s least-known houses, it’s a fine example of his early work and worthy of note if only for the fact that it was here, in 1897, that he and his wife, Lady Emily Lytton, are believed to have spent the first few days of their honeymoon, at the Webbs’ invitation.
This wasn’t the young couple’s first visit to the house. That took place the previous September, when, on the day they met while staying at Milford as guests of the Webbs, the young Lutyens persuaded his future wife to cycle with him by moonlight to Thursley, to see the new house he was building for their hosts.
It was love at first sight for both of them and the next day Lutyens introduced Emily to Jekyll, with whom he had already established a professional partnership that would last 44 years.
In 1909, Warren Mere was further extended by Lutyens for Lord Stamfordham and there followed a succession of distinguished owners, including Col and Mrs W. H. Whitbread, who bought Warren Mere in 1939.
The house came back on the market in 1978, when it boasted an estate of 865 acres of woods and heathland comprising Thursley Common and part of Rodborough Common.
Both were eventually sold that year, with the house and 52 acres being secured by a British buyer for about £150,000 and 788 acres of common land bought by the Nature Conservancy Council.
Its present owner, who bought the property in 2002, has had the interior inspirationally redesigned by Enrica Stabile from L’Utile e il Dilettevole in Milan, with colour-washed beams, walls and woodwork throughout.
Warren Mere offers 9,695sq ft of bright and elegant living space, including seven reception rooms, nine bedrooms and nine bathrooms.
It comes with a tennis court, an indoor swimming pool, a three-bedroom cottage and numerous outbuildings. Behind the house, a large terrace runs the full length of the building with direct access from the kitchen – ideal for al fresco dining.
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