Penny Churchill August 9, 2023
Houses in Holkham are ‘as rare as hen’s teeth’ — but one has just come up for sale. Penny Churchill takes a closer look.
Located on the north Norfolk coast between the fishing port of Wells-next-the-Sea and the sailing centre of Burnham Overy Staithe, the tiny village of Holkham was once a landing with access to the sea via a tidal creek to the harbour at Wells. Following the arrival of the pioneering Coke family in the early 1700s, the land around the creek was gradually reclaimed from the sea to form part of the now 25,000-acre Holkham estate, a thriving farming, tourism and property business, the avowed aim of which is to be ‘the UK’s most pioneering and sustainable rural estate’.
Holkham houses for sale are as rare as hen’s teeth, as the £3 million price-tag that accompanies the launch onto the market of Georgian, Grade II-listed The White House at Warham, three miles south of Wells, clearly indicates. Ben Marchbank of Bedfords in Burnham Market is handling the sale.
The White House stands in just over three acres of immaculate gardens and woodland, ‘off the beaten track’ in the ancient village of Warham, which boasts two medieval churches and the excellent Three Horseshoes pub, within the North Norfolk AONB. The house has retained its essential Georgian character, with fine sash windows, marble fire surrounds, an elegant main staircase and well-proportioned rooms, although the present owners have cleverly adapted the interior to create a spacious kitchen/family room and an additional bedroom.
In all, The White House offers 5,733sq ft of light-filled accommodation, including five reception rooms, five bedrooms, three bathrooms and a two-bedroom guest wing, the whole beautifully decorated in classic Heritage colours. Outbuildings include the original coach house and stable and a four-bay garage. There is also a heated outdoor swimming pool.
According to its Historic England listing, The White House dates from about 1750 and possesses a distinctive Dutch gable built of flint behind a later Georgian façade ‘typical of a Holkham estate gentleman farmer’s house’, which was added in about 1800 to a design by Samuel Wyatt, who oversaw the building of the estate’s Grade II*-listed Great Barn and other farm buildings.
Holkham has long been renowned for the quality of its buildings and, with 300 residential properties scattered around the estate, there is fierce competition for houses that become available for sale or rent, although the estate has a policy of not renting to people who plan to use the property as a second home.
Recommended videos for you The beating heart of the estate is Grade I-listed Holkham Hall, a grand Palladian mansion built for Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester, between 1734 and 1735, and now the home of the 8th Earl, who has inherited the Coke family’s passion for conservation, farming, forestry and gamekeeping, with the maintenance of the estate’s diverse landscape of farmland, woodland, parkland, saltmarsh and coastline. It includes the 9,600-acre Holkham National Nature Reserve, which is managed jointly with Natural England. It all makes for an idyllic coastal landscape that has been described as ‘a balm for the soul’.
The White House in Warham is for sale at £3m — see more details and pictures.
Fig 1: The grand south front. Holkham Hall, Norfolk. Photo by Will Pryce for the Country Life Picture Library. ©Country Life John Goodall revisits the splendours of Holkham Hall in Norfolk, a celebrated house — and the seat of the Earl
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