Hampton Court Palace is beautifully situated on the River Thames, just 12 miles from central London, and was originally built in 1514 for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who was King Henry VIII’s chief minister. Unfortunately, Wolsey fell out of favor with the notoriously capricious king. So, to get back in Henry’s good graces, Wolsey gave his home to the king.
Henry liked the palace a lot; it was in the country, yet convenient to London, and he soon had the house enlarged to accommodate his many courtiers. And while George II, who died in 1760, was the last British monarch to reside at the palace, it remains a royal property in the possession of Queen Elizabeth II and the Crown.
Sharing a boundary wall with Hampton Court Palace is a much smaller but still sizable and elegant Georgian mansion that sits on just over half an acre of land, with almost 9,300 square feet of interior space. The home is available, via Thomas Shuttleworth at Strutt and Parker, for offers over the rough equivalent of $8 million USD.
Now known as Ivy House, the earliest reference to the property comes from a circa 1696 land grant to Richard Stacey, a master bricklayer who worked on the construction of a later addition at Hampton Court Palace. Other notable and aristocratic occupants of the house have included the Countess of Effingham (pictured above), said to be the “most talked-of lady in London” at the coronation of George III, as well as the Earl of Ypres, and Lady Ainsworth. Indeed, the current owners purchased the house from Lady Ainsworth in 1965.
The Stacey house was rebuilt around 1778 in the Georgian style. Today, the façade remains the quintessence of Georgian architecture, with simple fenestration and a porticoed entrance with a pretty fanlight. Inside, the rooms are stately, with extremely high ceilings; the curved walls of the building allows for semi-circular bays that retain the original internal shutters. Old parquet flooring, an elegant staircase, huge windows, and numerous beautiful fireplaces adorn the residence. In fact, there is reason to believe that the Adam brothers, celebrated Georgian architects, are responsible for some of the fireplaces. The house stands three stories, along with a lower ground level, and contains three reception rooms, seven bedrooms, and three bathrooms, plus two more powder rooms.
The lower ground floor includes the services areas (catering kitchen, wine storage, pantry, and laundry), while the ground floor, what is considered the first floor in America, includes the home’s public reception rooms, as well as a second family kitchen. The drawing and dining rooms include exquisite round walls, and the library’s book-filled bookshelves extend all the way to the soaring ceiling. Two bedrooms on the first floor are joined by the spacious master suite, with dressing room and bathroom, and above that are four more bedrooms and a bathroom, along with an additional powder room.
The stately spread also offers a small garden storage room, and a large garage with a studio above that could be used as an office, artist’s studio, or possibly a staff apartment. Outside, the half-acre parcel offers walled gardens and vast lawns for garden parties, croquet and pick-up football matches.
The next owner will want probably want to upgrade and renovate a bit, but the historic mansion’s main rooms are wonderfully proportioned and timelessly comfortable just as they are. And while the once-rural area has been considerably built up since Henry VIII’s time, the area still offers the best of town and country, combining urban life with rural peace. Besides, how many people can say their property borders the Queen’s?