Stunning home the Queen gave to Sir Christopher Wren because she owed him money goes on sale for £4.25 million.
A stunning property given to England’s finest architect because the Queen owed him money for building St Paul’s Cathedral has been put up for sale for £4.25 million.
Sir Christopher Wren completed one of the capital’s best-known buildings in 1708 following 39 years of work.
And instead of paying Wren his full salary, Queen Anne gave him a 50-year lease on Old Court House, a beautiful Grade II listed home in Hampton Court, Surrey.
Two years prior to taking over the posh property, Wren gave the 16th century home a complete overhaul because he was disgusted by its decaying condition.
The dining room, which is now used as a study, was panelled in wood by the architect himself. It also features the same marble fireplace Wren put in for King William III at Hampton Court Palace.
Sir Christopher lived at the home on the banks of the River Thames until his death in 1723 at a then incredible age of 90.
In 1749 Wren’s grandson, Stephen Wren, sold the remainder of the lease with subsequent lessees included generals, admirals and earls.
Old Court House, which dates back to 1536, is now on for sale freehold for the first time in its history with high-end estate agency Savills marketing it for £4.25 million.
The home boasts six bedrooms, three bathrooms, four reception rooms and a beautiful garden which leads down to the River Thames, where there is a river mooring.
Savills, which specialises in stately homes and mansions for the mega-rich, describe the property’s drawing rooms as being among the “most magnificent to be seen in a private house”.
The room, at the rear of the house, has an oak stripped floor and a door which leads to a balcony stepping onto the garden.
Outside, the garden comes with a pond created by Wren and there is also a garden room which was once his tool house.
It is the only house which has an English Heritage blue plaque dedicated to Wren, widely regarded as the nation’s greatest architect.
Old Court House is currently owned by Toby Jessel, the 78-year-old former Conservative MP for Richmond.
Mr Jessel has lived at the property for the past 45 years and has now decided to move on, saying it is too large for him, his wife Eira.
All previous occupiers since 1708 held a Crown lease, but Mr Jessel bought the freehold in 1984 so this is the first time ever Wren’s own house has been offered for sale.
Sir Christopher Wren was responsible for rebuilding 52 churches following the Great Fire of London in 1666.
Wren was appointed as the Royal Surveyor by King Charles II in 1669 and held the post for 49 years until 1718.
He also designed Hampton Court and Kensington Palace.
Patrick Glynn-Jones, from Savills Richmond, said: “This is an exquisite and historic home. The magnificent first floor drawing room is the standout room of the house.
“Houses of this ilk are few and far between. I can see a someone getting emotionally engaged by it, with all its fabulous historical features.”