Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Downturning

A home worthy of any ‘Downton’ devotee is marketed for £6,500,000 less than it was previously promoted for in 2008

 

With Downton Abbey back on our screens, Brits are waxing lyrical about life in country houses whilst our American cousins are already bemoaning that they won’t get to see the latest series until January. Any fan with deep enough pockets could live out their fantasy if they were to purchase Thornhill Park at Stalbridge in Dorset.

 

The front elevation of Thornhill Park, Stalbridge, Dorset, DT10 2SH, United Kingdom
The front elevation of Thornhill Park, Stalbridge, Dorset, DT10 2SH, United Kingdom
The rear of the house
The rear of the house

Last year, at this time we featured what we termed “a manageable mansion”, Bletchingdon Park in Oxfordshire. It remains for sale and has seen its price slashed by £5 million to £15 million. In Thornhill Park, though, we share a recently refurbished Grade II* listed house in 144.82 acres that was launched to the market in 2008 for £14 million and sold at the time for “rather less” than £10 million. Its current owners put it up for sale in May 2012 for £8.5 million and now the price is down to £7.5 million.

 

Thornhill Park – which includes 14,200 square foot of living space, a farmhouse and four further cottages – has been described by Country Life’s Penny Churchill as being “imposing but not over-large”. It was predominately built in the 18th century in the Palladian style and was renovated in 1999 by an American named Tommy Kyle.

 

As with Bletchingdon Park, whose owner Dr Michael Peagram is primarily Monaco based, Kyle sold the “clotted cream” coloured Thornhill Park to take up residency in Monte Carlo. At the time, he told The Telegraph:

 

“I’m not sure why I bought it – I suppose it was out of desperation. I really wanted to buy something… Some people dream of cars or yachts. For me, it’s houses”.

 

The house includes a large staircase hall
The house includes a large staircase hall
Tommy Kyle's passion for plasterwork is apparent throughout the building
Tommy Kyle’s passion for plasterwork is apparent throughout the building
Plasterwork dominates the drawing room of Thornhill Park
Plasterwork dominates the drawing room of Thornhill Park
The master bedroom suite also includes a plaster ceiling
The master bedroom suite also includes a plaster ceiling
Tommy Kyle extensively redeveloped the grounds of the property between 1999 and 2008
Tommy Kyle extensively redeveloped the grounds of the property between 1999 and 2008
A Grade II listed obelisk dominates the deer park and was built to commemorate the coronation of King George II and Queen Caroline in 1727
A Grade II listed obelisk dominates the deer park and was built to commemorate the coronation of King George II and Queen Caroline in 1727
The estate comes complete with a farmhouse and 4 additional cottages
The estate comes complete with a farmhouse and 4 additional cottages

 

Mr Kyle devoted vast sums and eight years restoring Thornhill Park. “People say I’m not happy unless there’s a cement mixer in the drawing room”, he commented and for 10 months he employed six expert craftsmen who lived in the house for 10 months “festooning the walls and ceilings with elaborate plasterwork and building an octagonal folly in the grounds”. The results are impressive and though the present owners seem to have maintained his exacting standards, it seems that such a gem is proving a little difficult to sell.

 

Described by selling agents Knight Frank as being “grand yet manageable” in their brochure, this estate would most definitely appeal to a modern day Lady Mary Crawley. Mainline train services from Sherborne to London Waterloo take 2 hours and 20 minutes.

 

 

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    10 COMMENTS

      • I always like to do a little research….and yes, as you descend from good good Cromwellian military stock your Sydenham ancestor would be horrified by the way the house has been vulgarised.
        In a few years time we will regret what developers, like Candy and Candy, have done to the interiors of classic Knightsbridge and Belgravia interiors

    1. The artist James Thornhill, who built this house from his own design, is undergoing renewed critical appreciation due to the renovations of his masterworks at St. Paul’s and Greenwich Hall. His son and grandson were also artists, and his son-in-law was William Hogarth, one of the most important artists in world art. Shame that a bit of that “vast sum” wasn’t spent on some architectural archaeology.

    2. The house looks brand new and lacks the charm of really old houses….as if it were immediate, not taking years to develop……..noiuveau…….a pity as it looked better before he “decorated” it.

    3. I have photographs of the house in C19th when my grandmother grew up there with her parents , who had bought it.

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