History of Balls Park, Hertford Development
Balls Park has won an array of prestigious property awards reflecting the outstanding quality of the design and landscaping including:
Set among 63 acres of picturesque parkland, the Grade I Listed Balls Park Mansion House and surrounding buildings have been converted in to a collection of stunning apartments & delightful detached homes.
Having served as an education establishment for many years the beautiful buildings were falling into disrepair and became unsustainable to maintain. In 2001 City & Country purchased the estate and began the careful and expert work to restore all the historical buildings to their former 1638 glory.
Working with the original period features each home was designed to ensure none of the historic beauty was lost in the conversion process. Whilst externally the buildings were brought back to life with stonework cleaned, replaced where necessary and sash cord windows restored. Also communal areas such as the main Vestibule were kept for public use for all residence to enjoy.
Balls Park is a testament to the expert work City & Country undertakes, using the best craftsmanship to ensure the buildings survival for years to come.
Balls Park is one of the most important surviving mid-17th century houses in the UK. What’s more, this breathtaking estate and house is believed to have been inspiration for Jane Austen’s novel ‘Pride and Prejudice’.
Its history begins with Sir John Harrison, a wealthy financier and customs official, who constructed the house between 1637 and 1640, possibly to the designs of Nicholas Stone, the King’s master-mason.
The building was designed in the so-called Artisan Mannerist style similar to several other Hertfordshire houses of the same date but shows purer classical traits which suggest metropolitan influences. Several later phases of re-modelling can be traced stylistically to changes initiated by Harrison’s son Richard Harrison, and his grandson Edward Harrison, who had served in the colonial Government of the East India Company
In the later 18th century, the house passed to the family of the Marquess Townshend of Raynham in Norfolk, and so became a secondary home, though favoured by Lord John Townshend, who initiated further changes; possibly roofing over the courtyard as a saloon or atrium in the early 19th century
In the 1880s it was let to the Faudel-Phillips family, who purchased it outright in 1901 and made further changes. The estate offices and surviving stable block were built in 1902. In the early 1920s Sir Benjamin Faudel-Phillips commissioned the Scottish architect Sir Robert Lorimer to enlarge the house, by removing a series of service buildings and constructing a new west wing, mirroring the form of the mansion. The Coach House was also re-modelled at the same time.
The estate was sold in 1946 and converted in to a teacher training college, serving in an educational capacity for over 50 years.
The Hertford campus of the University of Hertfordshire closed and the site was purchased by City & Country.
The buildings were fully restored with all properties occupied.
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