8 bedroom detached house for saleBloxworth, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 7EF
Under Offer £4,000,000
- Grade I Listed Manor House
- magnificent parkland setting
- 8 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms
- separate 3 bedroom staff cottage
- wine cellars, walled garden
- tennis court, swimming pool
- beautiful gardens & grounds with irrigation
- outbuildings, in all about 8 acres
Bloxworth House is delightfully situated in its own park in a private, secluded position on the Western edge of the village of Bloxworth. Within the village is the historic church of St Andrew and a social club. There are useful local amenities available at Bere Regis (2 miles) with a wider range of facilities available at Wareham (6 miles). This is one of Dorset’s loveliest market towns known as the Gateway to the Isle of Purbeck and the massive earth walls built around the perimeter in King Alfred’s reign still survive in many places. Wareham offers an intercity train service, the journey to London (Waterloo) taking approximately 2 ¼ hours. The Isle of Purbeck is renowned for its magnificent scenery and rugged coastline which now forms part of the World Heritage Coast. The larger towns of Poole (10 miles) and Bournemouth (15 miles) are within easy motoring distance. Sporting facilities in the area include golf courses at Wareham, the Dorset Golf and Country Club and several fine courses around Bournemouth. There is racing at Salisbury and Wincanton, hunting with the Portman, South Dorset and Cattistock Hunts. There are excellent shoots locally and both river and sea fishing. There are safe bathing beaches at Studland and Bournemouth and a full range of water sports are within easy reach along the Dorset coast with a large sheltered harbour at Poole, as well as the site of the 2012 Sailing Olympics at Weymouth. There are excellent private schools in the area including Canford, Bryanston, Clayesmore, Milton Abbey and Sherborne together with a number of preparatory schools such as Dumpton, Castle Court, Port Regis and Sandroyd.
Bloxworth House was built by George Savage in 1608 on an E shaped plan and can claim to be the earliest use of brick in the county. The house was bought by Henry Trenchard in 1689 and remained within the ownership of the Trenchard family and their descendents right up until 1964 when the Estate was sold. Bloxworth House was used as the home of Thomas Hardy’s heroine Bathsheba Everdene (Julie Christie) in John Schlesinger’s acclaimed 1967 film adaptation of “Far from the Madding Crowd”. The house was considerably and sympathetically restored in the 1970’s. The present owners acquired the house in 1997. Martin Lane Fox is an internationally renowned Landscape and Garden Designer who is keenly interested in nature conservation. He is a past Vice Chairman of the Royal Horticultural Society and holder of the Society’s highest award, the Victoria Medal of Honour, being one of only three designers currently to hold the award. He has created a magnificent garden to complement the beauty of Bloxworth House.
Bloxworth House, which is Grade I Listed as being of Architectural or Historic Importance, is constructed of brick elevations with some limestone dressings under a tiled and stone slate roof. The brickwork uses a combination of red and dark purplish bricks which are bonded in some places but with the patterning more random in others creating a stunning visual effect. The house offers most attractive accommodation of enormous charm. There are principally stone mullioned windows with leaded lights and also some shuttered sash windows. One of the three bays on the North elevation was extended during the 18th Century and has double hung sash windows with glazing bars. In the first half of the 19th Century the West Wing was remodelled moving the external wall further out and adding a large two storey bay window. This has helped create a drawing room of superb proportions. There is a fine 17th century fireplace in the hall and a number of other fireplaces including lovely 18th Century examples with hob grates on the first floor. Beneath the dining room and hall are vaulted cellars. In the kitchen/breakfast room is an Aga and there is oil fired central heating. There are two staircases, an early 17th Century one in the East Tower and a reconstructed stair turret adjoining the West Wing. Of particular note on the first floor is the elegant master bedroom suite including a dressing room and well appointed bathroom. Directly over the front door is a room which is believed to have once been used as a chapel with a high domed ceiling and a spectacular view over the ornamental canal.
The accommodation for Bloxworth House and Garden Cottage is shown in detail on the floor plans.
There are a number of beautiful Listed outbuildings. East of the house is a mid 17th Century stable range built of similar materials to the house. Part of this has been converted into a charming 3 bedroom guest/staff cottage (Garden Cottage) with the Northern section still having some of the original stall partitions and brick floor. To the rear of the house, beyond a walled courtyard, is a lovely early 17th Century brewhouse in front of which is a gravel and cobble terrace. Under this terrace is a vaulted ice house. Higher up the terraced slope is a delightful late 17th Century pump house. Behind the stable block is a courtyard with some additional brick buildings behind which is an open fronted 4 bay garage/implement store. Nearby is a pretty two storey 18th Century dovecote.
A pair of wrought iron electric gates set within stone entrance pillars open onto a gravelled entrance drive which sweeps past mature trees and banks of Spring bulbs and continues up to a wide parking and turning area just before the house. The gardens of the house are best described by Martin Lane Fox in his own words :
“Whatever the Bloxworth garden may have been, it had lost its looks by the time we arrived in 1997. The 17th Century house and its marvellous outbuildings remained, alone in acres of grass and begging for inspiration. By the end of a first viewing of the property, I had determined that the “piece de resistance” next time round would be water, big and deep water in the form of an ornamental canal. Surrounded by wild flower meadows, it would occupy the Northern end of an axis drawn through the centre of the house which would link visually to the principal flight of garden steps and terraces on the South side. The main building, all three stories of it plus a steeply pitched roof, would create startling reflections in the water.
While we were buying the property, I was sketching out a detailed garden framework to give appropriate siting and emphasis to each of the outbuildings and to create areas for my various horticultural intentions, each one borrowing from the landscape and each having to contribute back to it. In the process, an existing swimming pool would have to go, to be replaced by a Georgian style plunge pool within a courtyard. Part of the stable block would become a cottage, and the walled garden would be given a contemporary layout and used to house unsightly things such as the tennis court.
The bulldozers arrived and major level changes followed. A number of existing mature trees were moved and a lot of new ones were planted. Hard surfaces were ruthlessly laid out in order to delineate and emphasise the design framework; brick paving, London cobbles, stone paving, and lots of gravel. While this was being done (a period of over 2 years) I worked up the planting areas, separating them with little more than pleached Lime and Rose barriers. Garden ornaments, planters and seats were added with great care.
The new garden has been planted now and is nearly mature. It includes 2 acres of the existing boundary woodland which I found at a late stage to have very acid soil so I cleaned it out and filled it with Magnolias, Camellias, Cornus, Embothrium and rare and interesting ericaceous plants.
Bloxworth is a most quiet and restful place. Visiting and resident birds, 30 species of butterfly, deer, badgers, foxes and other inhabitants will testify to it.”
From Wimborne take the A31 towards Dorchester and after approximately 8 miles the Botany Bay Inn at Winterborne Zelston will be reached. Continue along the main road for approximately 1 mile and turn left at the red signpost to Bloxworth. After about ¾ mile where the road forks, turn right signposted to Bloxworth. Follow the road and as you start to come up the hill, turn right by a row of thatched cottages. Proceed down this drive and the wrought iron gates of Bloxworth House will be seen straight ahead.
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