Find yourself with literary aspirations and £3m to spare? Piers Court, the Gloucestershire house that once belonged to Evelyn Waugh, has just landed on the market for the first time since 2004.
Architecturally speaking, Waugh is most closely associated with the dreaming spires of Oxford and the baroque flourishes of Castle Howard. In reality, the writer’s own home was only slightly less palatial than those occupied by his fictional creations.
The eight-bedroom, seven-bathroom house, on the market via Knight Frank with a guide price of £3m, sits in 23 acres of parkland, among gardens, gravel walkways and fountains laid out by Waugh himself. Structurally Georgian, the house incorporates portions of the original Elizabethan house that has occupied the plot since the 16th century. The renowned historian of British country houses, Nikolaus Pevsner, described it as ‘a dignified and elegant house’, an assessment confirmed in 1952 when it acquired Grade II listed status.
Waugh bought Piers Court in 1937 on the occasion of his second marriage, to Laura Herbert, using £3,600 that had been given to the couple as a wedding present by his parents-in-law. They lived in the manor house for 19 years, Waugh writing many of his best known books – including Brideshead Revisited – in its library and welcoming some of the 20th century’s most famed intellectuals through its doors. His idyll ended in 1955 when he received an unexpected visit from a Daily Express reporter who wrote up the incident. Feeling his privacy had been irreversibly invaded, he promptly put the house on the market, writing to the estate agent, ‘I felt as if the house had been polluted.’
The house is primed for Waugh inspired pursuits, be it writing a novel in the study, emulating the Bright Young Things on the croquet lawn or tennis court, taking romantic walks in the walled garden or filling the large wine cellar with vintage bottles. As Waugh himself wrote in his diaries, ‘It’s the kind of house which takes a lot of living up to.’