Luxury homes builder Millgate has announced that it has acquired the magnificent Woolley Hall on the outskirts of Littlewick Green in Berkshire.
The house and land have a rich history that spans several centuries from their first mention dating back to the beginning of the 13th century. Over the years since then, Woolley Hall has passed from the hands of the Forester family through a fine selection of the British aristocracy.
The most recent notable to have resided in Woolley Hall was George Dunn, a bibliophile and keen student of palaeography and early printing. Dunn lived there from 1886 until his untimely death in 1912, aged just 47. Mr Dunn was an expert on no less than four different subjects: astronomy, arboriculture (the trees he planted are one of the hall’s fascinating and unique features), horology and antique books.
Throughout his life, Dunn built up an impressive library at Woolley Hall, collecting early English law books, medieval manuscripts, early printed editions and stamped bindings. He was one of the first British collectors to notice and preserve these artefacts, a tradition which Berkshire has proudly carried on since through its leading library service, which this month sees the popular LibraryFest 2014 event draw to a suitable close with World Book Night at West Berkshire’s Newbury and Theale Libraries.
No doubt Dunn would be proud to see his literary heritage carried on in such a way. After his death in 1912, Dunn’s library was broken up and sold off to collectors worldwide, realising over £30,000.
In his personal life, it was rumoured that poor George Dunn suffered from a broken heart; the story goes that on the morning before his wedding day, his bride-to-be ran off with his brother! The wedding breakfast, which was laid ready for the celebration, was left untouched for the remainder of his life in an eerie yet somehow fitting echo of that of Miss Havisham in Dickens’ Great Expectations.
But quite unlike the gloomy ending of Miss Havisham’s Satis House, Woolley Hall is having new life breathed into it.
Millgate’s plans for the Woolley Hall seek to quietly reflect and continue to prolong the proud grandeur and tradition of the original buildings. The fabulous development will see Woolley Hall converted into luxury apartments, while the original stable block will be skilfully transformed into highly desirable mews houses. Within the grounds, a small selection of discreet, luxury country mansions will be added to complete the overall development.
Jonathan Cranley, Sales and Marketing Director for Millgate, comments,
“We are so excited here at Millgate to have been able to purchase this wonderful ancient estate. Turning this grand country seat and parkland into a selection of the finest homes will be one of the most exciting projects we have undertaken to date. The team is keen to get to work on such an energising project and to build some of the UK’s most stunning homes as part of the Woolley Estate legacy.”
For more details on the work to be undertaken at Woolley Hall contact Millgate on 0118 934 3344.