A Touch of Romance on Offer in the Country

The Birmingham Post (England), October 16, 1998 | Go to article overview

A Touch of Romance on Offer in the Country


An age of romance is evoked by the enchanting detail of a picturesque newcomer to the Worcestershire country house market.

Queensberry House at Ham Hill, Powick, might have been conjured up in an idealised past, somewhere between the Middle Ages and the early 18th century. The Grade II listed property is a fascinating example of the Gothic Revival as it enriched the persona l lives of the weleeled - those who could afford to translate the romanticism of the era into their own living spaces.

This appealing architectural period, already taking shape in the late 18th century, owes much of its vigour and selndulgence to the huge popularity of contemporary romantic literature.

The daring knights, fair damsels, rugged landscapes and heroic nobility of the popular novels diverted thoughts from the industrial revolution. And the sentimental sat nicely with the pious as designers also took inspiration from medieval churches.

Walter Scott's Abbottsford and Victoria's Balmoral were grand examples of this seductive fashion. Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill was decked out in exuberant Gothic style as he planned his own Gothic novel.

And Queensberry House is a product of this very age, built around 1800 as a hunting lodge for a Marquess of Queensberry, predecessor of the sportsman of boxing rules fame.

Mr Stuart Flint, of the Worcester office of Knight Frank, which is handling the sale said: "This is one of the most fascinating country houses in Worcestershire."

Aside from its idiosyncratic design, the property draws colour from illustrious former occupants: the Sumners of Typhoo tea riches and the mother of P G Wodehouse who lived here in the 1920s.

Built in a secluded, elevated position above the River Teme, the property has rendered elevations to set off its classic features; arches galore; oriel windows; hood mouldings; high gables; leaded windows and elaborate bargeboards with dropped tracery p lus gorgeous vaulted and fluted ceilings.

Expensive and time-consuming craftsmanship is everywhere, a Gothic feast for the eye, and not one dull corner.

This detailed confection is further enriched by the unusual, up and down layout over four different levels on the sloping site with a generous internal floor area of more than 8,251 sq ft.

The ground floor has an imposing hallway with its dramatic Gothic ceiling and carved oak panelling to a high dado rail. …

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