Lutyens Houses on the Market

Richard Page’s regular property column

It was a tremendously busy property market during the summer, fuelled by pent-up demand during lockdown, exceptionally low interest rates and the temporary reduction of stamp duty. No major Lutyens houses have come to the market but, as always, there is activity to report.

Domaine de Ranguin © Lutyens Trust Photo Archive

Domaine de Ranguin, Mougins, France

Domaine de Ranguin, a little-known Lutyens house to the north of Cannes, has been sold recently.

This was one of three houses Lutyens designed for Guillaume Mallet, the first commission being Le Bois des Moutiers at Varengeville-sur-Mer in Normandy in 1898, probably Lutyens’s best-known house in France. This was followed by Les Communes nearby in 1909. In 1912, Lutyens restored and enlarged the family’s property in the South of France, a 17th-century monastery, creating a substantial holiday home. The late Michael Hanson, a former property columnist for the Newsletter and committee member of The Lutyens Trust, visited the house. In an article recently republished in the Newsletter, he wrote: “I was astonished to find what everyone had thought to be a minor work of his in the South of France is in fact one of his major works of remodelling on a par with his restoration and conversion of Lindisfarne Castle in Northumberland”. Domaine de Ranguin’s double-height entrance hall with its many and varied arches; the magnificent drawing room with its panelled doors, marble fireplace and decorative plaster ceiling; panelled library; elegant dining room and small sitting room all bore the stamp of Lutyens. So, too, did the corridors with their elaborately vaulted ceilings and black and white floors. On the first floor, the principal bedrooms had the typically Edwardian sleeping balconies found in many Lutyens houses.

The Trust is in regular contact with the new owners, providing photos and other information from the Mallet era to assist restoration work now in progress.

Littlecroft, Guildford, Surrey

Littlecroft, Guildford, Surrey

Back at home, another little known yet fascinating house, Littlecroft, came up for sale in July and quickly found a buyer. Dating from 1899, it is built into the hill of Guildown to the south of the town. The street-facing elevation incorporating the main entrance gives the impression of a single-storey residence but, to the rear, the garden-facing elevation is on two storeys (reminiscent of Lutyens’s The Red House in Godalming of 1897 but on a much smaller scale). A particular feature is the use of polygonal, vertical oriel windows, also found at Le Bois des Moutiers, The Ferry Inn, Rosneath (1896), The Pleasaunce, Overstrand – originally two villas joined by Lutyens to make one large house in 1897 – and The Hoo, Willingdon (1901 to 1902). These show the influence of Norman Shaw (Shaw’s Swan House on Chelsea Embankment of 1876 has similar windows) yet the overall design gives an indication of what is to come later in Lutyens’s career with the inclusion of Classical elements, such as the porch’s rusticated brick detailing and the formal plan of a central staircase.

The house is Grade II-listed and the interior, measuring over 3,000-sq ft, includes five double bedrooms, two bathrooms, five reception rooms, a kitchen-cum-breakfast room and a separate double garage. The garden, just over half an acre in size, is understood to have been planted to designs of Gertrude Jekyll in 1908, and now includes a swimming pool.

Available through Knight Frank. The guide price was £2.25m.

Ladygrove Lodge, Preston, Hertfordshire

Ladygrove Lodge, Preston, Hertfordshire

From 1908 to 1911, Lutyens remodelled and enlarged Temple Dinsley, an 18th-century manor house which had been acquired by Herbert Fenwick of the Northumberland banking family, who was introduced to the architect by his cousin, Mark Fenwick. Further works were carried out by Lutyens in 1913, including building a home farm with stables, barns and cottages. One cottage, the Grade II-listed Ladygrove Lodge, which incorporates the original dairy barn, is currently for sale. Extending to 2,900 sq ft and fully modernised, it includes five bedrooms, two kitchens, a hall and family room. The drawing and dining rooms are in the restored barn which has splendid open-timbered ceilings. The house has a secluded garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll, and plenty of parking space.

Available through Savills. Guide price: £1,250,000.

Cedar Lodge, Middleton Park, Oxfordshire

Cedar Lodge, Middleton Park, Oxfordshire

Middleton Park, commissioned by George Child Villiers, 9th Earl of Jersey, saw Lutyens work alongside his son, Robert, in what was to be one of his last great houses. Completed in 1938, the grand house is in the Classical style. Its exterior, made of golden Clipsham stone, has tall windows with shutters. Robert commented that his father’s contribution “reduced the Classical modes of antiquity to a quintessential Englishness, which embodied the total experience of his life”. Middleton Park is one of the few buildings in Britain with a staircase hall featuring Lutyens’s Delhi Order (the name for Lutyens’s own order of Classical architecture that he invented while undertaking New Delhi).

Some accommodation for the household staff was provided by four lodges on either side of the entrance gate piers (surmounted by guardian eagles carved by Scottish sculptor William Reid Dick). One lodge, the Grade II*-listed Cedar Lodge, is currently for sale. Recently renovated, the 2,148-sq ft house is arranged over three floors (plus a basement with a wine cellar). There are five bedrooms, two bathrooms, two reception rooms and a double garage. In addition to a private garden, residents have use of the extensive private grounds, which includes a heated swimming pool, tennis court, croquet lawn and cricket ground.

Available through Penny & Sinclair. Guide price: £975,000.

Weston, Lulworth Cove, Dorset

Weston, Lulworth Cove, Dorset

Weston, which has come to the market this autumn, is a stone’s throw from the picturesque Lulworth Cove, a World Heritage site. Designed by Lutyens in 1927, the house was built as a retirement home for surgeon Sir Alfred and Lady Fripp. Alfred Fripp had a distinguished medical career as a surgeon at Guy’s Hospital and as Chief Medical Officer of the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital, Deelfontein during the Boer War. He became “Surgeon in Ordinary” to the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, and to King George V. He was knighted in 1903 for instigating reforms within the Army Medical Service which were to prove life-saving during the Great War. When he retired from Guy’s in 1925 he received an inheritance from lifelong friend Sir George Holford, and had Lutyens design a house for him on the coast at Lulworth. He named it Weston after Holford’s country house, Westonbirt in Gloucestershire. Lutyens himself consulted Fripp: in a letter to his wife Emily he wrote “I have a threatening of the old duodecimal tummy trouble so am resigned to hot water and Fripp’s magic pill”.

As a side note, in July 1930 Laurence Olivier and his first wife, Jill Esmond, spent the first night of their honeymoon in the house at the invitation of Lady Fripp. The following January, Olivier and Esmond appeared together on Broadway with Noël Coward and Gertrude Lawrence in Coward’s play, Private Lives.
The three-storey, Grade II-listed Weston is built into the hillside on a “T” plan and has brick elevations under a tiled roof. It occupies a wonderful clifftop setting with coastal views east towards the Isle of Purbeck and west towards the Isle of Portland and has direct access to the South West Coastal Path.
Extending to 5,413 sq ft, the house, which is in need of updating, has a reception hall, drawing room, library, sitting room, kitchen, breakfast room, cellar, principal bedroom and bathroom and several other bedrooms and a bathroom. The house has a double and single garage and a 0.86-acre hillside garden.

Available through Savills. Guide price: £1.75m.

Knight Frank: 01483 565171; www.knightfrank.co.uk
Penny & Sinclair: 01865 318013; www.pennyandsinclair.co.uk
Savills: Harpenden, Hertfordshire: 01582 465000;
Wimborne, Dorset: 01202 856800; www.savills.co.uk

Richard Page is Group Marketing Director of estate agent Dexters. During his 35-year property career, he has advised on the sale of many Edwin Lutyens houses. Do please contact him with any Lutyens-related property news at landseer75@hotmail.com.

Disclaimer: prices and availability correct at time of going to press.