Revealed: Hertfordshire's most expensive homes 2017
PUBLISHED: 12:59 14 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:33 18 March 2018
From a £3.6m manor house to a vast estate costing more than £15m, these are the most expensive homes sold in Hertfordshire last year.
When the Grade II listed country seat that is Woolmers Park went on the market, it promised to be Hertfordshire’s most high profile sale of 2017.
No surprise then that a few months later, the former home of the Queen’s grandparents became far and away the most expensive property sold in a year which otherwise saw prices reach new heights.
Precise details of the sale are not clear, but while the Land Registry records a figure of £15,583,000, it is understood that agents Savills completed the deal in several lots, pushing the total price to a whopping £20,000,000.
What is clear, however, is that options for any potential buyer would have included the Georgian House with 70,000 sq ft of living space and 232 acres of hunting, shooting and fishing estate, complete with avenues of cedar, pine and walnut trees.
The total estate comprised a complex of eight buildings, an Italianate garden designed by former Chelsea Flower Show winner Luciano Giubbilei, a mile of private access to the River Lea and even a polo complex where Prince Charles played during his students days at Cambridge.
That’s because the owners at the time were the Earl and Countess of Strathmore, one of a ‘who’s who’ listing of names that settled there over generations, including the brewing magnate, Samuel Whitbread.
Key features include a fine library, double-width drawing room, games room, cinema room and an indoor swimming pool, gym and spa complex.
Graeme Warren, one of Savills’ Hertfordshire directors, said: “Properties at this end of the market will always attract attention because of the rarity value. The market overall is still quite price-sensitive but there will always be a demand for good quality country houses; especially those with long driveways.
“Buyers at this level tend to be very discerning so if it doesn’t tick all their boxes, they won’t buy but there’s still quite an appetite.”
That’s illustrated well by the sale of Wick House – all 8,000 sq ft of it, set in grounds akin to a small park – which publicly available Land Registry data shows was the most expensive house in St Albans last year, reinforcing Marshal’s Drive as the city’s most desirable address.
A cool £7.1 million bought the owner a mansion of five bedrooms, multiple reception rooms, a cinema, swimming pool, sauna, floodlit hard tennis court, and a gym, all specced-up to the hilt, thanks to a sizeable refurbishment project.
There’s even a staff flat and it’s nicely secluded; sitting comfortably within its own landscaped grounds, way back from the road behind iron gates.
Similarly, in Harpenden, 43 West Common enjoys not only one of the most exclusive of local postcodes but must represent the epitome of country living for a house within walking distance of a main commuter station.
With six receptions rooms and five en suite bedrooms, it sits among vast split-level lawns – complete with a sunken seating area - in the most private of gardens in the most private part of Hatching Green.
It’s a wide sprawl of a property with a wine cellar and snooker room in the basement and a mini leisure complex comprising swimming pool, spa with a whirlpool bath, steam room and gym. There’s even a double garage with an additional room over it.
The mansion that is 16 Williams Way, Radlett, is still a relatively new build of around 9,000 sq ft on a double width plot of around half an acre.
Internally, it’s something of a gem from the vast and extremely welcoming entrance hall you see first to the gardener’s lavatory you probably won’t see at all.
In between, there’s a drawing room, living room, lounge, and two kitchens, the main one being 10m sq and doubling as a living/dining room.
The master bedroom suite comes with his and hers dressing rooms as well as the usual en suites and all behind a large balcony overlooking the gardens.
There are two further suites, a laundry room, a sizeable gym with steam/shower rooms on the first floor and four further bedrooms and a plant room above.
What’s more it’s all approached by a carriage driveway with parking for at least 10 cars.
Less is known about 18 Cobden Hill, Radlett, other than that it is a fairly spectacular six-bed new build set discreetly away from the main road and yards from the array of security cameras that overlook what until recently was home to singer Cheryl Tweedy.
That completed in February last year at £4,000,000. Others were sold in relative privacy, given that buyers were found for the likes of 39 Loom Lane, Radlett before there was even time to complete details.
Far more is known, however, about Flowton Priory, or 46 West Common, Harpenden, which sold for £5,300,000 in September. Unsurprisingly, it’s one of Hertfordshire’s most remarkable properties; built in the 1500s in the Suffolk village of the same name, dismantled in the 1920s and transported Tudor brick by Tudor brick to West Common.
It’s a staggering blend of period and contemporary features, with its tall chimneys, a spectacular vaulted kitchen made in oak and marble and stained glass windows featuring detailing from Wells Cathedral and York Minster.
It has a staff flat, five bedrooms and three bathrooms with antique slipper baths and views over grounds of three acres.
Set back from the road, it is approached by a 120m private driveway through an avenue of flame oaks.Wrought iron gates then lead to an impressive ornamental tree-lined shingle driveway.
Outside, there’s a large Koi Carp pond, an avenue of Cherry trees, a summer house, fountain, outbuildings including a four-car garage and an elegant Italian garden.
Another that made the top 10 in the county’s multi-million club was Youngsbury near Ware, a £4.3 million nine-bedroom Grade II listed Georgian house built in 1745 in 175-acres of woodland, with river-fronted meadows with two ponds, a clock-towered stable block and a tennis court.
The house has changed hands many times and undergone many changes, while sticking to its Georgian principles. Previous owners include David Barclay, the Quaker banker and abolitionist - who commissioned Capability Brown to improve the park - and Daniel Giles, governor of the Bank of England.
There is 7,365sq ft of living space at the end of a long drive, including a magnificent main entrance hall, three reception rooms, a modern kitchen/breakfast room, a conservatory, seven bedrooms, four bathrooms and a three-bedroom former staff flat – and lots of cellar space beneath.
Also set within the grounds is an 18th-century walled garden, a Georgian stable block and a three-bedroom garden cottage. It almost seems beyond belief that number 10 on the list has nine bedrooms and sits in more than two acres of grounds. The Manor House in Park lane, Old Knebworth, sold for a mere £3.6 million and comes with, among everything else you’d expect, six bathrooms, a heated swimming pool, floodlit tennis court, games room, cinema room and gym.
If any further market commentary were needed, it’s interesting to note that the previous year’s most expensive property – the £5.1 million Highlands in Kinsbourne Green, Harpenden – has since been demolished to make way for an even more impressive pile, courtesy of Gable Construction.