This Grade II* property has a very impressive approach through a magnificent stone archway which leads to a statuesque and handsome Strawberry Hill Gothic Revival front. Reputedly, Harpsden Court dates back to 1204. Harpsden Court probably reached the height of its prosperity in the 16th century. It was beautifully mapped by John Blagrave in 1586 and this map survives in the Bodleian Library in Oxford.
There is an overlay of Elizabethan and Medieval architecture with an eclectic collection of Regency, Strawberry Hill Gothic Revival, Venetian, Palladian and Tudor revival windows. A Regency wing provides light, well-proportioned rooms whilst the Victorian wing provides a wide range of domestic office and former staff accommodation. Internally, it is particularly atmospheric, with a rich sequence of well-preserved interiors representing the long history of the house, notable for the oak panelling and exquisite plasterwork.
The principal bedroom is also known as 'Queen Mary's Room' as it is believed that Queen Mary I stayed at Harpsden Court. During the Great War, from 1914 1919 Harpsden Court was established and maintained as a hospital for British sick and wounded. In recent years the house has played host to a number of noted film and television productions. With its wealth of background and historic architectural integrity, Harpsden Court provides a wonderful opportunity to modernise this landmark property with unique character.
The studded front door is set in a two-storey porch and opens into the grand oak panelled Tudor reception hall with a gothic revival open fireplace. A splendid stained glass bay window gives views over the gardens to the east. The principal staircase with a magnificent 'George and the Dragon' window (designed by Arild Rosenkrantz) rises to the right of the fireplace, leading to the principal first floor rooms. The formal dining room, which is the original Medieval core of the house, opens to the west of the reception hall. This beautiful, panelled room features original broad oak floorboards and an imposing Jacobean stone fireplace with 17th century mantle. To the left of the fireplace there is a discreet oak panelled door hiding a Tudor arch passageway leading through to the former kitchen. Window seats are situated to the front overlooking the entrance gateway to Harpsden Court. Double doors to the south of the dining room open into the inner hall to the Regency secondary staircase, which leads to the spacious landing on the first floor. The former kitchen lies to the front of the house, in the west wing, adjacent to the formal panelled dining room. This kitchen wing was added in the 18th Century and maintains visual symmetry of the principal front elevation. The room retains the original Victorian range and mixed stone and tile flooring, and leads to the scullery and two larders. There is access to a walled courtyard garden with an external store. A sewing room is linked to the original kitchen and inner hall to present kitchen.
The south hallway links a suite of reception rooms forming the Regency wing of Harpsden Court. The rooms have fine proportions and sash windows with working shutters. From the south hallway, there is access to the rear gardens and gravelled drive. The drawing room has sash French doors, wooden flooring and an open fireplace. The library is lined with bookshelves and has a private reading room. Wide oak floorboards lie throughout the reception rooms. The breakfast room, also opening off the south hallway, leads to the new kitchen, which was built in the 1970's.
The west wing of Harpsden Court was added in the Victorian era to provide a suite of service rooms, bringing all the functions needed for the running of a large family house under one roof. There is a sitting room, utility/boot room, wine cellar, store and domestic offices. The west wing contains the third and fourth staircases to the first floor and access to the western driveway to the property.
There is also a lift (not currently in use) serving the ground and first floor.
The principal oak staircase, with original fabric wallpaper, has an impressive coffered ceiling with Wedgewood style decorations and leads to a Palladian doorway which opens out into the splendid domed Rococo music room. The cupola is a masterpiece of engineering sitting within the original roof space and believed to be designed by Humphrey Gainsborough (brother of more famous Thomas) who at the time was rumoured to have his studio within the attic being a friend of the Halls (owners from 1648-1850) and a minister in Henley. This stunning room has ornate plasterwork on all four walls and the ceiling, an open fireplace with marble hearth dating around 1770 and wooden mullion and transom windows to the front over the main entrance porch.
The first floor gothic revival sitting room and principal bedroom lead off the music room; the sitting room has a curved bay window with steps down to the east gardens and also internal access to an adjacent bedroom. Both of these rooms have open fireplaces. The principal bedroom suite, known as Queen Mary's Room which has an original mid 1500s interior and is wonderfully panelled with oak and leads via a discreet panelled door through a chamber to Queen Mary's Oratory and separate bathroom. There are twelve further bedrooms on the first floor, some of which could convert to dressing rooms, en suite bathrooms or nurseries. Five bath/shower rooms are situated on the first floor, three en suite and a further WC.
Attic space provides potential for extensive further accommodation, subject to relevant consents.
The country house provides one of the most outstanding restoration and luxury address opportunities in Oxfordshire and the Home Counties.
Located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Harpsden Court is situated in an attractive rural hamlet to the south of Henley-on-Thames with rising ground on three sides. According to the Doomsday Book, Harpsden Court and the neighbouring St Margaret's Church date from the 12th Century. Harpsden valley, originally carved out of royal hunting ground, is nestled in beautiful countryside and woodland. It has the benefit of a first class Golf Course and Cricket Club and is minutes from a prestigious private polo club.
The nearby historic market town of Henley-on-Thames is surrounded by the stunning Chiltern landscape of green fields and wooded hills. It provides comprehensive shopping, leisure and cultural facilities, including outdoor music festivals on the banks of the River Thames. The Henley Royal Regatta held annually is the best known regatta in the world and one of the highlights of the social calendar and sporting season.
Sporting activities include walking, riding, golf, hunting, cricket, rugby, shooting, fishing and boating.
Henley is well served for a number of excellent state and independent preparatory schools which include: - Rupert House School and St. Mary's School (Henley-on-Thames), Godstowe (High Wycombe), along with top independent senior schools within approx. 30 mins drive, including Eton College, Wycombe Abbey, Wellington College, Bradfield College and Abingdon School, and within a 15 min drive Shiplake College, Queen Anne's School, Reading Blue Coat School, The Abbey School for Girls and Leighton Park School.
Nearby Henley, Shiplake and Twyford stations have access to both Oxford and London Paddington, whilst the major railway station at Reading, some 8 miles, offers frequent fast trains to London and the West Country. The M4 and M40 motorways are within a 10 miles radius providing fast access to London, Heathrow Airport, the M25 interchange and the West Country.
The Court sits in a mature landscape of varied, historical garden spaces, including a walled kitchen garden to the north and an orchard to the west. To the east and south extensive lawns lead to views across open fields and woodland beyond. The kitchen opens on to a stone paved terrace, ideal for alfresco dining. Careful stewardship of the grounds by the current owners has resulted in particularly rich bird and wildlife in the gardens. There is a lychgate giving the owners of Harpsden Court access to St Margaret's Church from the garden to the front of the house. About 4.18 acres in total.
The tenure of Harpsden Court is Freehold.
RIGHTS OF WAY
There is a reservation of right for the benefit of Harpsden Court to use the rear drive at all times for all vehicles.
Harpsden Court: Mains electricity and water are connected to the property. Oil fired central heating. Private drainage.
TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING
Harpsden Court: Grade II*
FIXTURES AND FITTINGS
Unless otherwise stated, fixtures and fittings, garden statuary, garden and estate machinery that are not specifically described in these particulars are not included in the sale, although certain items may be available by separate negotiation. Further information should be obtained by contacting Hamptons.