Nestled in the heart of picturesque Irnham village in South Lincolnshire, Newton House is an exceptional Georgian Grade II-listed detached dower house with 17th century origins, coming to the open market for the first time in its nearly 400-year history. Internal accommodation extends to almost 5,500 sq ft across six bedrooms, while the wonderfully preserved and restored original interior features are complemented by sympathetic interventions, including a Plain English kitchen and Fired Earth bathrooms. The house has recently undergone a painstaking programme of restoration works and is presented as an immaculate ‘turnkey’ home with an exceedingly high standard of finish throughout. Large verdant gardens set within a 3/4 acre plot envelop the house and there is a detached triple garage with spacious ancillary accommodation above, in addition to a further separate en suite ground floor studio space. Access to the surrounding countryside is excellent with the market town of Stamford nearby for amenities. Local day and boarding school options are exceptional. Access to central London is also brilliant, with trains from Peterborough station taking 46 minutes, and nearby Grantham station 61 minutes precisely.
Setting the Scene
One of the East Midlands’ prettiest estate villages, Irnham is positioned on a high limestone ridge that forms part of the Kesteven Uplands. Village life is centred around Irnham Hall, with its beautiful parkland and walled gardens, and the nearby Griffin Inn. Houses throughout the village are constructed uniformly from honey-coloured stone in traditional vernacular designs, all originally built by the Irnham Estate; today, the houses are mostly in private ownership. The village also encompasses the Irnham Conservation Area.
Newton House received its name as it was leased from the Irnham Estate in 1699 by John Newton, a relative of Sir Isaac Newton’s, who was steward of the estate at the time. Sir Isaac’s paternal grandfather went on to buy Woolsthorpe Manor from the Irnham Estate, where Sir Isaac spent much of his childhood and is now owned by the National Trust. When recording the house, Pevsner suggested Newton House was most likely the dower house to Irnham Hall and consequently tempting to date it as 1765 when the hall was largely altered, but Newton House’s main south-facing façade and secondary range were in fact added to in the 18th century, onto an earlier timber-framed 17th-century house that forms the rear range of the home which has a more vernacular charm, as opposed to the newer south range which is home to the principal rooms, featuring exceptional Georgian detailing and elegant main exterior elevation.
The Grand Tour
From Corby Road, Newton House has an imposing and elegant presence, bound by a low, coped ashlar wall with original wrought iron spearhead railings, all under a separate Historic England listing. Low gates lie at either end, once entrances to what would have been a carriage driveway, though the main driveway to the house is now discretely set to the rear behind electric gates leading to a pea gravel driveway, the garage block and the main house’s service entrance and boot room.
The house is constructed from squared and coursed limestone, with ashlar quoins and dressings. Three storeys high and five bays wide, it has a moulded, dentilated cornice and plain parapet with panels featuring carvings of flowers and fruit. The house’s two parallel ranges are crowned with Welsh slate roofs and with further stone-coped gables. The box sash windows throughout have been fully restored, or replaced with sympathetic lights to match, and have moulded architraves and raised keyblocks with further floral motifs.
The house has an excellent security system, with remote-operated cameras, an alarm system and outdoor sensor lighting. Solar panels are hidden within the rear of the roofs as an additional eco-efficient source of electricity, and the guttering is all renewed cast iron, set discretely to the sides and back of the home.
The principal entrance is positioned centrally, with a handsome eight-panel door set in a split pediment arched stone doorcase, flanked by climbing roses. Opening to the spacious hallway with stone flags underfoot, elevations are framed by box cornicing and a handsome dog-leg staircase with wide treads lies directly ahead. Farrow and Ball paint has been used throughout the house, as has lime plaster. The walls in the hall are painted in Oxford Stone, complemented by London Stone on joinery.
The house also features cast iron radiators with independent thermostats, flush Corston electric plates, Cat 6 data cabling and a Nest heating system throughout. The south range relies on oil heating and the rear range and ancillary accommodation run on an air-source heat pump. Throughout the house the preserved joinery is exceptional, including six-panel doors to all rooms and many shuttered windows; the brass ironmongery is all specially sourced antique designs, including beautiful rim locks, beehive handles and decorative escutcheons.
On the ground floor, two reception rooms lie on either side of the hallway, both fully panelled and each fitted with sisal carpeting. Wood-burning stoves feature in both rooms, and the west room also has an exceptional strapwork plaster ceiling. The east room features a butler’s passage, concealed behind a hidden door and leading to the kitchen.
The main entrance to the kitchen and secondary range is behind the staircase, where steps lead down to a vast, open timber-beamed space with heated limestone flags underfoot. This part of the house is the oldest, most evident in the beautiful, exposed oak beams that feature throughout. The room spans the entire width of the house, some 40 ft wide, with kitchen cabinetry by Plain English; the Carrara marble worktop is inset with a double steel sink and a Quooker tap beside the window, looking to the courtyard beyond. The large central island table is antique pine, with space for bar stools underneath and the six-door black electric Aga ‘Total Control’ is positioned in the tiled hearth; the remaining appliances are integrated. From here, French windows open to the garden’s spacious east-facing terrace, also laid with stone flags.
The centre of the kitchen space is double height – opening to the rear gallery above – with space for a large dining table. The very end of the room is configured as an informal seating area with a media centre cleverly concealed behind panelled cupboards. There are also two charming, canted bay windows with seating inset. From the kitchen, a service corridor laid with terracotta tiles and overlooking the rear garden courtyard leads to a secondary kitchen cum pantry, also featuring Plain English cabinetry, and a further laundry/utility room with a double butler sink. At the end of the corridor, the back hall acts as a boot room, and there is a downstairs WC. The plant room is also located here, with a separate exterior door.
On the first floor, the main landing space is stunning, with dark oak floorboards underfoot. The principal bedrooms lie to the front of the plan overlooking the garden, both fully panelled with dados and box cornicing, and with bolection-moulded fireplace surrounds. The west bedroom has a separate en suite WC, while the east bedroom has a full en suite bathroom with black and white marble flooring and a shower enclosure with marble tiles and Fired Earth chrome plated brassware. The vanity is inset with double sinks and Carrara marble rests atop. Adjacent is the dressing room, fully lined with floor-to-ceiling fitted wardrobing in a panelled design. Also to the rear of the first floor is a further fully panelled room, which can be used as a snug, for extra dressing space or as a library/study.
Ascending to the uppermost floor, two bedrooms lie to the front of the plan, both featuring wainscotting and fireplaces with hob grates. These rooms share a central bathroom, with a cast iron clawfoot rolltop bath, pedestal sink and separate shower enclosure. Chrome-plated brassware is also by Fired Earth. To the rear of the floor, at a half landing, are two further bedrooms, vernacular in character with exposed beams and timbers, and sharing a separate shower room with similarly excellent fittings and materials employed.
The Great Outdoors
The beautiful walled gardens wrap around the entire house, mainly laid to lawn with lime trees and a beautiful mature cherry tree. To the front of the house, pea gravel pathways are surrounded by yew hedges, and banks of verbena stand tall along the south-facing elevation while climbing roses surround the entranceway.
There are two seating terraces: one to the east of the house nearest the kitchen and perfect for morning coffee, and the second to the west of the house, set within a charming, enclosed courtyard featuring banks of Japanese anemones. To the rear of the house, there is a wooded area planted with sycamores surrounding a serpentine pathway that leads to the kitchen garden with several raised beds.
The detached garage and ancillary accommodation block were newly built at the same time as the main house’s restoration works were undertaken and designed in a highly sympathetic manner to complement the main house. Constructed from reclaimed red brick and with a pitched slate roof inset with dormers, the garaging is set at ground level with three elegant arches to resemble a stable block. Separately, a bin store and a garden store have been incorporated into the design, discreetly to the rear.
The space above the garaging has been designed for versatile use, currently configured as a guest suite, with a large open plan space positioned centrally and plumbing and wiring in place for a kitchen. Conservation-grade roof lights are throughout, flooding the rooms with light. An en suite bedroom is positioned at the east range and a further separate shower room at the west range. This suite of rooms could also make for excellent quarters to run a small business. On the ground floor, there is a further separate studio room with an en suite shower room, which could easily accommodate a home gym, guest bedroom or office space.
Out and About
Newton House is brilliantly positioned, nestled along the border of South Lincolnshire and Rutland, with plentiful farm shops and cosy pubs dotted around the surrounding villages and countryside. Within the village, The Griffin Inn is owned by the Irnham estate and offers an excellent menu with local produce and meat reared on the estate, with wonderful outdoor dining in warmer months and offering guest accommodation for overnight stays.
Stamford is the favoured local town, just 20 minutes’ drive from Irnham and renowned for its Georgian architecture. There is a weekly Friday market and a fortnightly farmers’ market. There is also a great variety of restaurants, hotels and independent shops, as well as a large branch of Waitrose. The George of Stamford is of note and there is also an arts centre with an independent cinema. The market town of Bourne is a slightly closer 15 minutes’ drive away, with a Marks and Spencer food hall and additional quality purveyors.
For adventures in the outdoors, Rutland Water is a 25-minute drive away and is Europe’s largest man-made reservoir. It is a stunning backdrop to a great day out, with sailing clubs, an Aqua Park, fishing, a nature reserve, and a cycle circuit dotted with good pubs along the way. Nearby, the Burghley Estate hosts many events within its glorious parkland, from lectures by well-regarded historians to the world’s largest horse trials. The village is also just a 45-minute drive from the North Norfolk coast.
The house is brilliantly situated for both state and independent schools. It is only 10 minutes’ drive to Witham Hall School – an award-winning prep school for boarding and day pupils – and a slightly longer drive to further acclaimed independent schools, including Oundle, Uppingham, Oakham and Stamford. Closer to Irnham is the state Bourne Grammar School, Ofsted “Outstanding”-rated.
The A1 runs to the west of Irnham, just 11 minutes’ drive away, and provides easy access to both north and south England and links to the A14, A47 and M25. The A1 also leads directly into central London. The nearby cathedral city of Peterborough is 40 minutes’ drive away, with its comprehensive shopping and leisure facilities. It has a mainline rail station with regular high-speed trains to London King’s Cross taking just 46 minutes. The market town of Grantham is just a 25-minute drive north of Irnham, with further excellent independent purveyors and train journey times to London King’s Cross from Grantham station of 61 minutes.
Council Tax Band: G
Irnham was originally a medieval deer park and now forms an estate village built around Irnham Hall, the ancient seat of the Paynells and from about 1200, the Luttrell family, Lords of Irnham until 1418. The Manor then passed by marriage to the Hilton family and similarly in 1510 to the Thimbleby family, by whom the present Tudor house was built in about 1600. Later in 1901, the estate was purchased by the Benton Jones baronets and remains in the careful stewardship of the family to this day. This part of Lincolnshire is still defined by the great privately owned estates that have modernised over time, with Vanbrugh’s Grimsthorpe castle, park and gardens (designed by Capability Brown) just a few miles away.
St Andrew’s church is positioned directly opposite Newton House, late Norman in origin and with perpendicular additions. It was heavily restored in 1858, and again in 2006. It holds the tomb and Easter Sepulchre of Geoffrey Luttrell, who commissioned the Luttrell Psalter, a celebrated medieval manuscript now in the British Library, in the early 14th century.
The recorded history of Stamford, Irnham’s most accessible and useable nearby town, goes back well over 1,000 years. It first came to prominence in the 9th and 10th centuries when it became one of the five controlling boroughs of Danelaw. It was one of the first towns to produce glazed wheel-thrown pottery after the departure of the Romans. Stamford prospered under the Normans with an economy based mainly on wool; it was particularly famous for its woven cloth called haberget. The town’s excellent communication routes via the Great North Road and the River Welland to the North Sea ensured the success of its trade.
By the 13th century, Stamford was one of the ten largest towns in England. It had a castle, 14 churches, two monastic institutions, and four friaries; parliaments met here, and there was a tradition of academic learning which finally led to the establishment of a short-lived breakaway university in the mid 14th century. Many buildings survive from this period, including the early 12th-century St Leonard’s Priory, the magnificent early 13th-century tower of St Mary’s Church, the rich 13th-century arcades in All Saints’ Church, fine 13th-century stone-built hall houses and undercrofts, and the 14th-century gateway to the Grey Friary.
The removal of the leading wool trade to East Anglia in the 15th century forced the town into decline, and the work that remained was concentrated in the hands of wealthy merchants like the Browne family. These merchants helped rebuild many of the churches in the mid-late 15th century, including St John’s, St Martin’s and All Saints’, fine examples of Perpendicular Gothic architecture. William Browne also founded an almshouse which remains one of the best surviving medieval almshouses in England, complete with exemplary stained glass.
The town, and indeed Irnham itself, share the same stone as the Cotswolds as the seam of rock runs through to the east of England, and therefore has a similar appearance to its chocolate box towns and villages. Stamford was England’s first designated Conservation Area; a remarkable array of over 600 listed buildings have been carefully maintained.
W. G. Hoskins, the famous 1950s historian, said of Stamford: “The view of Stamford from the water meadows on a fine June evening, about a quarter to half a mile upstream, is one of the finest sights that England has to show. The western sunlight catches the grey limestone walls and turns them to gold. It falls on towers and spires and flowing water, on the warm brown roofs of Collyweston slates, and on the dark mass of the Burghley woods behind.”