Thursday, February 29, 2024

A Miniature Downton – £10.5 Million Poston Court

“Stately home in miniature” Poston Court could become the most expensive small country estate ever sold in Herefordshire; is it worth £10.5 million?

In 2012, when the late Shane Warne and his then lover Elizabeth Hurley paid £6 million for a manor house with 187 acres in Herefordshire it was lauded as “one of the most expensive houses ever sold” in that county.


Now, with the launch to the market of the 266-acre Poston Court Estate – situated near Britain’s best known ‘Book Town,’ Hay-on-Wye – at a staggering price of £10.5 million, a new record will be achieved for what is considered a “small country estate.”


Situated in a parish in which Lewis Carroll’s younger brother, the Reverend Skeffington Hume Dodgson, was vicar from 1895 to 1910, Grade II* listed, 4,362 square foot Poston House at Vowchurch overlooks the Golden Valley, the Black Mountains and the Forest of Dean. It is described as enjoying “some of the finest views in England” and is 139 miles from London and 48 miles from Cardiff.


Renovated by subsequent recent owners and most recently the subject of “a glamorous reinvention by [the] designer Francis Sultana,” according to a December 2021 feature in House & Garden, this “stately home in miniature” was originally a shooting lodge and includes amongst other things 4 reception rooms, 3 bedroom suites and a media room.


In addition, there is a 2,606 square foot secondary residence, Poston Lodge, with a further 3 bedroom suites, a 1,831 square foot 4 bedroom cottage, a studio office with a wet bar and a 1,885 square foot orangery with a swimming pool. Outbuildings number barns and garaging and in addition there is a tennis court, parkland originally laid out by King George III’s master gardener Sir Thomas Robinson, woodland and the “the space and topography” to create a small shoot.


1 Front
The front elevation of the Grade II* listed main residence on the estate.
2 Rear
Viewed from the rear.
3 Aerial
An aerial shot shows Poston House and its ancillary residences and outbuildings.
Elizabeth Hurley Donnington Hall
Liz Hurley and Shane Warne paid £6 million for Donnington Hall in September 2012. Her life at the 13-bedroom Georgian house set in 187 acres has attracted press attention in the time since and in October 2021, Hurley angered neighbours by leaving the estate “looking like a battlefield” after felling dozens of trees. In 2013, the dopey diva complained that “noisy sheep were keeping her awake.”
Sir Edward Boughton
The wall mount to Sir Edward Boughton, Bart. (1794 – 1794) in St Bartholomew’s Church, Vowchurch remarks of him: “He was a man of clear discrimination, of sound judgment, of unshaken fidelity in his friendships and of inviolable honours and integrity.”

The Names & Numbers – Poston Court (Also known as Poston House), Vowchurch, Hereford, Herefordshire, HR2 0RJ, United Kingdom

June 2022 – Offered for sale for £10.5 million ($13.2 million, €12.3 million or درهم48.5 million) through Knight Frank with 266.23 acres.

2015 – Sold to a “British couple, who have led a fairly international life but, six years ago, were looking for a quiet place in the English countryside. They previously had a far larger country house, but came to realise that it did not reflect the way they wanted to live. ‘Most of the house was never used – there were rooms I wouldn’t go into for weeks at a time,’ Poston’s current chatelaine recalls. ‘But when we saw this, it ticked every single box for us,’” according to House & Garden.

September 2013 – Offered for sale for £3.5 million ($4.4 million, €4.1 million or درهم16.2 million) through Strutt & Parker and Carter Jonas with 223.5 acres.

May 2009 – Offered for sale for £4.25 million ($5.35 million, €4.99 million or درهم19.63 million) through Andrew Grant with 270 acres on behalf of Mr and Mrs Ludwig.

1999 – Sold to Stephan Ludwig, owner of Dreweatt Neate Fine Art, and his wife Emily.

1988 – Bought and restored with the assistance of the architect and Liberal policitian Philip Jebb by Esmond Bulmer of the Bulmers cider making family. Of the property at this time, the “viper wit” art historian Sir Roy Strong CH, FRSL remarked: “In the evening went to dinner with Esmond and Susie Bulmer at Poston. The house was a hunting lodge by Sir William Chambers but transformed by them into a hilltop Trianon with panoramic views over the Herefordshire landscape” in his 2016 book Scenes and Apparitions: The Roy Strong Diaries, 1988 – 2003.

1960s – Sold to a local farmer and “thereafter went into rapid decline,” according to Country Life magazine. House & Garden point that it “had hens nesting in its central rotunda dining room.”

1890 – Two wings attached to east and west.

1882 – Altered and extended.

1794 – Sir Edward Boughton, Bt. dies aged 52 and subsequently the property passes subsequently to his various descendants. A wall monument in St Bartholomew’s Church, Vowchurch remarks of him: “He was a man of clear discrimination, of sound judgment, of unshaken fidelity in his friendships and of inviolable honours and integrity.”

1765 – Built as a Georgian ‘casino’ (Italian for “small house” rather than a gambling reference) or ‘round house’ by the Swedish-Scottish architect Sir William Chambers RA – whose best-known works are Somerset House in London and Kew Gardens in Richmond upon Thames – for Sir Edward Boughton, Bt. (1742 – 1794).

Around this time also, Sir Thomas Robinson, master gardener to King George III, laid out the estate’s grounds with “many of the magnificent trees seen here today,” according to Knight Frank.

Sir Edward became the 8th Baronet Lawford in 1780 following the murder of a distant cousin, Sir Theodosius Boughton, Bt. (1760 – 1780) of Lawford Hall, Warwickshire who was poisoned days after his 21st birthday by his brother-in-law Captain ‘Diamond’ Donellan – whose wife would have inherited if he had died before he was 21. It was a famous case of its time and ultimately Donellan was executed in 1781 for his murder.

1749 – The manor of Poston is sold by the trustees of the 5th Duke of Beaufort to the Boughton family.

1635 – “Henry Earl of Worcester paid £400 (the equivalent of £62,000 today or $78,000, €73,000 or درهم286,000) for the house, which remained in the hands of the Somerset family, Dukes of Beaufort.”

1522 – “It passed to the Parry family, who were granted a licence to enclose the deer park.”

1227 – “Ralph Scudamore, the benefactor of Dore Abbey, had a fortified house here,” according to Country Life.

Poston House

4 Drawing Room
The drawing room of the house is decorated in “germolene with a bit of lilac” say the current owners.
5 Dining Room
The circular dining room is situated in the building’s central rotunda. Of it ‘House & Garden’ comment: “The aforementioned rotunda dining room retains some of the relics of the Bulmer period and is rich in original, as well as contemporary, references to the building’s 18th-century origins. These include three grisaille panels showing the Sacrifice to Pomona, painted by Esmond’s son Edward and recently restored. Edward, himself an interior designer and historic paint specialist, also designed two console tables, their Vitruvian scroll detailing now repeated in the edge of the circular Mattia Bonetti rug. Surrounding the magnificent ‘Three Graces’ dining table, also by Mattia, is a set of antique black klismos chairs bought in Paris.”
6 Kitchen
The handmade kitchen is by a firm named Martin Moore.
7 Media Room
Previously an additional bedroom, a circular room in the basement has been converted into a media room.
8 Master bedroom
The primary bedroom suite is decorated in a ritzy fashion in de Gournay silk wallcoverings.
9 Bedroom
There are two additional bedroom suites in the main house; they wouldn’t look out of place in a fashionable country house hotel.
10 Side view

Poston Lodge

11 Poston Lodge exterior
The “miniature stately home” also has space for guests, staff and relatives. Amongst the accommodation is a lodge house with 3 bedroom suites named Poston Lodge.
12 Poston Lodge sitting room
It has been decorated similarly to the main house and includes a sitting room.
13 Poston Lodge Kitchen
The kitchen has an AGA.
14 Poston Lodge Bedroom
One of three bedrooms.

Outbuildings, Offices, Orangery and Swimming Pool

15 Outbuildings
A courtyard of outbuildings has been partially converted and offers potential for further accommodation.
16 Orangery
Beyond a terrace at Poston Court is an orangery building that houses a swimming pool.
17 Swimming Pool
The swimming pool measures 32’8” by 13’5” itself.
19 Studio Offices
A studio office building extends to 604 square foot.


17 Tennis Court
The tennis court is ready for a budding Emma Raducanu and has been resurfaced and fenced.
20 Setting
Over 1,000 tonnes of soil has been brought in to restore the formal parkland’s slopes.
The views across unspoilt countryside are spectacular.
22 Entrance Gates
The entrance to the estate is relatively modest and gives little away as to the £10.5 million property that it leads to.
23 Telephone mast
An aerial shot of the house illustrates its proximity to an especially unsightly telecommunications mast. The agents hail it as a benefit and state that its “electricity supply [is] on priority service level due to emergency services located on [the] mast.” Other elements of the infrastructure on the property include CCTV, two boreholes and an A/C saltwater treatment plant for the swimming pool.
24 Estate Plan
A plan of the compact 266 acre estate.
Matthew Steeples
Matthew Steeples
A graduate of the London School of Economics, Matthew Steeples is a writer and marketing consultant. He conceived The Steeple Times as a media arena to fill the void between the Mail Online, The Huffington Post and such organs as the New York Social Diary in 2012.


  1. One would need to spend a fortune to get rid of the present owner’s vile and vulgar bad taste. Why do these people buy attractive period homes and then ruin the interiors

  2. Wrecking ball urgently required!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Overpriced dump with a cancer mast right next door!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. The interiors, except the circular dining room, bear no relation to the outside of the house, and the same goes for the Lodge. Bizarre. They all look distressingly suburban


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