Lutyens Houses Market Report
Richard Page’s property column – Spring 2020
Little Thakeham, West Sussex
Will it be third time lucky for the sale of this beautiful Grade I-listed country house, which Edwin Lutyens called “the best of the bunch”? In The Lutyens Memorial Volumes — The Architecture of Sir Edwin Lutyens, ASG Butler described it as follows: “A long house on a gentle slope from north to south, Little Thakeham is a transcription of the local 16th-century idiom which might be described as a Classical definition of domestic Tudor architecture”. Bought by its current owners in 2000 and sensitively restored and modernised after a spell as a country-house hotel, the property first came to the market in 2013, was relaunched in 2016 and is available again now.
Little Thakeham is contemporaneous with Marsh Court in Stockbridge, Hampshire, which has a similar H plan. Its entrance is via a walled forecourt to the north into a long corridor hallway. “These elements come together with the sweet inevitability of a traditional manor house,” wrote Lutyens’s biographer Christopher Hussey. “They give the impression of certainty on the part of the architect but without that overemphasis which at Marsh Court betrays some underlying uncertainty. This is the quality which distinguishes Lutyens at his best.”
The golden local stone used on its exterior, soaring chimneys and leaded windows flush with the walls give no clue as to the pièce de résistance of the interior — an entirely Classical double-height hall. Detailed stonework lines the walls up to two-thirds of their height, there is fine wrought ironwork on the landing balcony at one end, a wide fireplace with an oversized keystone and another balcony above. Opposite, a Classical arch opens onto a double-height stone mullion bay window, providing a perfect fusion of Tudor and Neoclassical styles.
The house occupies over 12,000 sq ft and boasts nine bedrooms, eight bathrooms, three south-facing reception rooms, a study, kitchen-cum-breakfast room, one bedroom annexe and two-bedroom cottage. It also has a triple garage, swimming pool and pool house. The 14-acre, Grade II*-listed garden includes the original pergola, extensive planting and views of the surrounding countryside and South Downs. Guide price: £5.5m through Knight Frank.