Friday, December 30, 2022

The house that time forgot

House where items lay untouched for 100 years remains on the market for over a year


The Hermitage in Hexham, Northumberland is a “small stately home” that truly is a time warp. Rented by the Morant family for nearly 100 years, this Grade II* listed, 14 bedroomed mansion was barely touched during that period.


The Hermitage
The Hermitage

The house – which stands in 18 acres of land and comes with a stable block, outbuildings and a 2-bedroomed lodge cottage, was rented in 1922 by Brigadier General Hubert Horatio Morant and passed to his children, Doreen Shirley, Alice Bettine and Major John Locke Straker. Not one of them married and with the death of Alice Bettine Morant in 2013, the house returned to its owners, the Allgood family.


Last year, auctioneers Anderson & Garland were appointed to sell the contents of what has been described as “the house that time forgot”. Inside they found unopened bottles of champagne from 1919, cosmetics and pharmaceutical items for the 1920s and 1940s and a copy of The Field magazine from 1938.


Of the sale, which achieved some £300,000, auctioneer Andrew McCoull commented:


“Time had stood still and the house took on the qualities of a museum. It was a once-in-a-career experience”.


“What was striking was the enormity of it all, the sheer quantity of memorabilia and ephemera which would normally have been thrown out and which told how a family in the inter-war years lived, and what they did”.


A reception room prior to the 2013 auction of the contents of The Hermitage
A reception room prior to the 2013 auction of the contents of The Hermitage
An orangery in the grounds is the only modern feature having been rebuilt in 2000
An orangery in the grounds is the only modern feature having been rebuilt in 2000
The Hermitage comes with an extensive range of outbuildings that could be converted for a variety of uses
The Hermitage comes with an extensive range of outbuildings that could be converted for a variety of uses
A 2 bedroomed lodge cottage stands at the entrance to this small estate
A 2 bedroomed lodge cottage stands at the entrance to this small estate
The estate has frontage to the River Tyne
The estate has frontage to the River Tyne

“The Hermitage is a rare survival of a house on a grand scale where the Morant family lived for 90 years and threw little away”.


“Items no longer required were neatly wrapped in newspaper, tied with string and stored in the extensive attics. The contents offer us a rare glimpse of life in the inter-war period”.


“With the sheer scale of the property, the family’s possessions could be stored in different cupboards, rooms, lofts and buildings and little was ever disposed of”.


For sale with agents Strutt & Parker for £2.25 million since July 2013, The Hermitage is described as an “extremely private, yet manageable country house now requiring modernisation” and though it is a shame that the eventual buyer won’t have the opportunity to acquire its contents, it will certainly again make for a very fine residence.



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