Barrington Hall has suffered many ups and downs in its three centuries of existence, but an astonishing restoration effort has put it in superb condition. Now it's looking for an owner to kick off its next few centuries; Penny Churchill reports.
Barrington Hall, on the Hertfordshire-Essex border not far from Bishop’s Stortford, has had something of a chequered history. Though work was originally started in 1735 it took many decades for the house to be finished. It wasn’t even fully occupied for over a century, and for 40 years in the late 20th and early 21st centuries it was used as office space.
Yet all that has changed, and a meticulous renovation project lasting over three years has seen those offices stripped out and the place painstakingly restored to its former glory, while adding some nice modern touches. It’s in this condition that it comes to the market via Knight Frank and Savills at £15 million.
The house stands in about 41 acres of formal gardens, paddocks and parkland and offers some 22,000sq ft of impressive living space on three floors, with an indoor swimming pool and leisure complex on the lower-ground floor.
Highlights include the extraordinary double-height grand reception hall, with its huge window, oak-herringbone floor and lovely fireplace; the drawing room, with its exquisite marble fireplace and mullioned windows overlooking the lake; and the mirrored dining room, which can seat 24 guests.
A fine oak staircase leads to a galleried landing and the stately master-bedroom suite, a large guest bedroom with an en-suite bathroom and three further bedrooms.
The second floor is configured as a more relaxed entertainment area and, reflecting Silvertown’s long-standing Clerkenwell connection, the vaulted, loft-style Prospect Rooms on the third floor include two further double bedrooms with exceptional views of the estate.
Additional accommodation is available in the converted six-bedroom former coach house and the single-storey staff house.
Outdoor amenities include a heated pool and pool house, an all-weather tennis court and extensive equestrian facilities, comprising 10 stables, a tack room and manège.
The construction of Barrington Hall was initiated in 1735 by John Shales Barrington, whose family had been prominent in Essex since the Norman Conquest; the new hall was intended to be a glorious, long-term family seat.
Barrington wanted Classical Georgian design with a richly decorated and fashionable interior and chose the architect John Sanderson, who had recently completed Stratton Park for the Duke of Bedford. However, the new house wasn’t completed during his lifetime and wasn’t permanently occupied for more than 120 years, until, in 1863, it passed to a distant relative, the rich and ambitious George Alan Lowndes.
Lowndes had the house extensively remodelled in a neo-Jacobean style to the design of Edward Browning and lived there until his death in 1904, after which it was bought by Alfred Gosling, scion of a prominent Essex banking family. The Goslings lived at Barrington Hall until 1977, when the house was sold to the British Livestock Company.
It was next purchased by Terrence Pickthall as the corporate headquarters of his family perfumery business, CPL Aromas, and finally sold, in 2014, to London-based developer Silvertown Properties who spent three and a half years restoring the place to its former glory.
The present owners have spent £6m to make Pickhurst, at Chiddingfold the ultimate sophisticated sporting estate.
Dating to the 17th century with possibly earlier origins, sustainable enlargement and careful tending has allowed New Grove to retain