Peel back the layers of history at this prestigious Bedfordshire country mansion, which dates back to 1575.
Known as The Old House, it is the oldest in Aspley Guise, a picturesque village that ‘regularly features in “The Sunday Times Top 100 places to live in the UK” ‘according to listing agent, Savills.
Self-made ‘gentleman’ Edmund Harding built the Grade II* listed country property and has a fascinating history: built to rival the home of the neighbouring Lord, its original Elizabethan structure subsequently underwent a ‘makeover’ in the 18th century, covering the exterior with Georgian white stucco to give it a more ‘classical’ appearance.
Renovation at the beginning of the 20th century by Dr George Herbert Fowler stripped the stucco away to reveal the original Tudor frame and decorative red brickwork beneath, which is how the home appears today.
A wood-panelled entrance leads into the Great Entrance Hall, with its chequerboard floor tiles, marble fireplace (inset with a wood burner) and rugged wooden beams.
Next is the drawing room, which feels ‘peak Tudor’ thanks to wood-panelled walls and patinated floorboards. A statement marble fireplace has a decorative stone surround, while the room has a triple aspect, with views across the garden via the French doors and elegant Georgian sash windows.
The large country kitchen features flagstone flooring, a classic cream Aga, timber beams, Shaker-style cabinetry, and a huge butcher-top island. A breakfast room is tucked in one end, with a roof light overhead and French doors leading to the garden.
Upstairs, things are even more spectacular: the primary bedroom has ornate early 17th-century panelling and plasterwork featuring a delicate depiction of cupid, while other ground and first-floor rooms also have 17th and 18th-century panelling (some of which was imported, according to Historic England). There are seven generously proportioned bedrooms spread across the 7,447 sq ft Bedfordshire property with garden views.
The Old House is enveloped by 2.4 acres of gardens and woodlands, including a formal lawn and decorative topiary, with steps leading down to the former swimming pool. The grounds are dotted with brick outbuildings, including a double garage (with an old tack room adjoining), plus a pair of storage barns and an outbuilding that’s been converted into a gym.
Rosie Rickett of Savills holds the listing for The Old House, with an asking price of £2.35m.