News and Events

Hylands House Writtle Chelmsford

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Jonathan Douglas - Hughes ( Senior Partner ) Steven Payne ( Managing Partner ) & Peter Littlefield ( Equity Partner ) of Gepp & Sons together with Brenda Littlefield were recently invited to a "handing over ceremony" of an original copy of the Hylands House Site Map dating from 1920, formerly attached to a copy of the brochure promoting the last time the House was offered for sale at public auction in 1922, kindly loaned to Chelmsford Borough Council by Peter & Brenda Littlefield. The map is on public display on the first floor at Hylands House looking over the rear lawn so anyone who looks at the map can gain a good impression of how the estate looked in 1920. Chelmsford Borough Council is the tenth owner of Hylands House. The House was built in 1730, for Sir John Comyns; the original house was a red brick Queen Anne style mansion - difficult to imagine today. In 1797 Cornelius Kortright purchased Hylands House and employed the well known landscape gardener Humphry Repton, who set about modernising and enlarging the property. He added the east and west wings, a colonnaded portico and covered the whole house in white stucco. However despite the charms of Hylands and the county of Essex, Kortright did not see Repton's design for the house through to completion. It was Pierre Labouchere, owner from 1814-1839, who completed Repton's design for Hylands House, which produced the neo-classical style building seen today. In 1839 John Attwood purchased Hylands House, and it was under his ownership that the house was greatly altered to become the three storey country mansion that survived up until 1977. Owner Arthur Pryor left his mark on the local community during his time at Hylands House, and under the ownership of Sir Daniel and Lady Mary Gooch numerous well known guests were entertained at Hylands. In 1922 the last private owners Mr John & Mrs Christine Hanbury bought Hylands Estate. Unfortunately Mr Hanbury passed away before they had moved into the house, but Christine Hanbury and her son Jock continued to live at Hylands House even during the 2nd World War when the House was used as the Head Quarters for the SAS. Jock was an RAF pilot and was sadly killed during the confrontations. Mrs Hanbury continued to live at Hylands House until her death in 1962. Gepp & Sons are very pleased to be involved with Hylands and are fully supportive of the work, the aims and objectives being carried out by Ceri Lowen and her staff at Hylands to the benefit of the local community.