The entrance facade
Ashdown Park, Berkshire, from an early 20th century postcard. This house may have been the model for Nether Lypiatt.
The Governor's Palace, Colonial Williamsburg, from a 1930s postcard. This important American building's design may have been influenced by Nether Lypiatt.
Built / Designed For: Judge John Coxe
House & Family History: The four-story house, which forms a perfect square of only 46 feet, was built on the brow of the Lypiatt Ridge by an unknown architect for Judge John Coxe, from perhaps 1690, but mostly 1695-1703; the house was finished for his son, Judge Charles Coxe, by 1717. Nether Lypiatt may have been modeled on Ashdown House, the National Trust property in Berkshire (see "Images" section). Sensitively designed wings were added in 1923 and 1931. In February 1981 Nether Lypiatt was sold by harpsichordist Violet Gordon-Woodhouse to Prince and Princess Michael of Kent for £260,000, who lived here until 2005. In September 2005 the house and 36 acres were put up for sale for £6 million, dropping to £5.5 million in February 2006. In April 2006 Nether Lypiatt was purchased for £5.75 million by life peer Baron Paul Drayson of Kensington. Lord Drayson was then parliamentary under-secretary of state and minister for defence procurement, as well as a controversially large financial donor to the Labour party. There is speculation that Nether Lypiatt was the influence for the design of the early 18th century Governor's Palace in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia (see "Images" section).
Collections: In 2006 Lord Drayson auctioned items, originally owned by the Kents, at Moore, Allen and Innocent in Cirencester. The 100-lot house clearance sale consisted of bric-a-brac on August 18, sporting items on September 1, antiques on September 29, and pictures on October 27; all proceeds went to charity.
Comments: Nether Lypiatt is frequently called "the perfect 18th century formal house in miniature."
Garden & Outbuildings: The front garden on the west facade has symmetric box-edged beds of yellow "Princess Michael of Kent" roses. The east facade features symmetrical knot patterned formal gardens, leading to an 80-year-old avenue of slender lime trees, known as "Cathedral Walk." A 20-foot high stone obelisk erected by Judge Coxe in memory of his favorite horse stands in Lower Lypiatt Wood. Outbuildings include the Grade II-listed main stableblock, an additional small stableblock, the gardener's pavilion, the keeper's cottage, and the pool house.
Country Life: LIII, 415, 438 plan, 1923. LXXV, 5412, 540 plan, 1934.
House Listed: Grade I
Park Listed: Grade II
Current Seat / Home of: Lord Paul Drayson; here since 2006.
Past Seat / Home of: Judge John Coxe, 18th century; Judge Charles Coxe, 18th century. C.W. Woodall, early 20th century. Violet Gordon-Woodhouse, late 20th century. Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, 1981-2006.
Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust
Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home
House Open to Public: No
Historic Houses Member: No