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Historic houses: taking a step back in time

Inspiring architecture, period interiors, a fascinating back story. But historic houses call for specialist advice, too

A historic building is wonderful in so many ways. Inspiring architecture and time-honoured building methods are combined with a ‘back story’ – whether that is simply the love and care that has been invested down the centuries or, often, an association with fascinating figures or past events.

But these buildings sometimes come with challenges, and buyers will often need advice. Large historic properties may have undergone many alterations, some of which may not have been granted consent, and the liability passes on to the new owner. One of the key services we offer in the Heritage team is the resolution of this for buyers and sellers, which not only provides peace of mind, but can substantially increase capital value.

“The decision to buy a property so often relies on the purchaser’s confidence in achieving key changes to a historic house,” says Crispin Holborow, Country Director at Savills Private Office. “Obtaining this information early on allows sellers and their agents to speak with confidence about the possibilities for the house.” It’s prudent to have this advice on hand from an initial viewing. Often, there is surprise at just how much can be done. Historic properties need to be sustainable and adaptable, so that the next generation can live in them and love them just as our forerunners did.

Trafalgar Park is a Grade I listed house near Salisbury. It is the perfect example of a heritage property. Here, Dr Paula Lutescu-Jones, Principal Archaeologist and Heritage Consultant at Savills, describes its key attributes.


The prestige
The present house is primarily the work of two architects: the central part was built as a villa overlooking the river Avon in 1733, under the guidance of John James of Greenwich; and the North and South wings, which were added in 1766 and designed by John Wood the Younger, best known for his work on the Royal Crescent in Bath.


Secret history
The main house at Trafalgar Park is Georgian; however its history extends as far back as the Domesday Book of 1086, when it was known as Standlynch Park.


Blooming brilliance
The setting of the house, within its own parkland and landscaped gardens, and with views of Salisbury Cathedral in the distance, has been carefully designed in order to enhance how the building can be appreciated. This directly contributes to its significance as a heritage asset and is protected under the Listed Buildings Act.


It’s all in the details
Nicholas Revett designed the portico, the interiors for the North Wing and a number of chimney pieces for the main house. Revett is considered by many to have influenced some of the finest Greek Revivalist interiors in England.


Interior inspirations
The opulent interiors of the house have been well maintained, and include the unique ‘Cipriani Room’, a music room painted by the Italian GB Cipriani, a founding member of the Royal Academy. A marble bust of Inigo Jones, the early architect famed for his employment of the Vitruvian rules of proportion, overlooks the Baroque Hall, which has been beautifully maintained and provides an excellent example of original plasterwork dating to around 1733.


To request a meeting with the Savills Heritage team, please call +44 (0)1823 692 642