Guildford in Wyndmoor is the perfect English country mansion with a rich history and beautiful views. Inspired by Sutton Place in Surrey, the stately home has found itself in quite a different setting on the other side of the world.
Looking at Guildford, a stunning mansion set on 18 private acres, you wouldn’t be remiss to expect it to be a half an hour drive from Windsor Great Park and all the wonders of the Home Counties.
However, you would be entirely wrong. For this 16th century English manor, available at a guide price of $9,300,000 through Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty, is a half an hour drive from central Philadelphia, 90 minutes from the most densely-populated of New York’s five boroughs: Manhattan.
So, what came to pass to place such a quintessentially British house in the most American of settings? Unsurprisingly, the back story is fairly fascinating.
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The original owner of the land Guildford is built on, George Elkins, was an Anglophile and luckily had the resources to create his own dream home, thanks to his father’s success in the oil, gas and tobacco industries, as well as regional rail lines.
Inspired during a visit in 1915 to his friend the Duke of Sutherland, owner of the historically significant Sutton Place in Surrey, George Elkins decided to build Sutton Place a cousin across the pond. As such, his home was built with 16th century English Tudor architectural elements imported from our very own Guildford, transported from England in dozens of ship containers – perhaps a predecessor to the flat-pack houses which baffle us today.
European craftsmen were even imported to re-assemble the materials, with architect Robert McGoodwin, protégé of Horace Trumbauer, supervising the project.
It would come as a shock to no one that the home took nearly a decade to complete, but George Elkins sadly passed away in 1925 before he could see his dream turned into reality.
Although he has passed, Elkins’ intentions made sure that Guildford would not fade away with him. He had always intended for his home to last for centuries, with the entire substructure – including the roof – made from thick, reinforced concrete, amply supporting all of its contrastingly-timeless architectural elements.
The generously proportioned rooms, high ceilings and axial layout make the manor perfect for gracious entertaining as well as an elegant, cosy and welcoming home for family and friends. Original features have survived along with the sturdy foundations, including antique brickwork, oak floors, limestone walls and stained-glass windows.
The home itself boasts seven bedrooms, seven full bathrooms, five partial bathrooms and covers a vast interior area of 21,000 square feet. In a little step away from sturdy-British realities, the lower level hosts a connoisseur’s wine cellar, a spa, staff laundry and multiple storage areas. The home also has 2 elevators, which given its vast size, doesn’t seem quite as unusual as it would in a rickety old English mansion.
To match its interiors, the grounds contain period English gardens, woodland paths and sweeping vistas from the western terrace, creating an illusion of the English countryside.
So, whether you’re an Anglophile dreaming of our rolling green hills or a Brit longing for home, Guildford may just be the place to park your boat.
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