Guildford: A Magical English Manor Embraces the Past and Nurtures the Soul

 

When the gates of Guildford open, you are transported to a time reminiscent of another era—one of magical and ethereal beauty. The tranquility we all long for in today’s hectic world wraps its arms around you in a nurturing way and summons a cozy sense of peacefulness that is rarely found in a home of this scale. Completed in 1925, this magnificent home took nearly a decade to reassemble and build and is truly an historical treasure—a treasure that was first conceived in 1915 by industrialist George W. Elkins, inspired when he visited his friend, the Duke of Sutherland, at his home, Sutton Place near Guildford in Surrey, England. The residence, an authentic 16th-century Tudor manor house in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, was crafted with English Tudor architectural elements that were imported from England and reassembled by European artisans. Elkins and his wife, Allethaire, took great care to ensure it would last for centuries using reinforced concrete throughout the entire substructure to protect the home’s timeless architectural elements.

Upon entering the front courtyard set with river stones carried from England’s River Wey in Surrey, you are dazzled by the beautifully carved limestone entry arch and historic oak entry door that lead into the linen-fold paneled majestic front hall. From here you catch a glimpse of the breathtaking living room, with its intricate oak crown moldings and jewel-like stained glass rose window signifying a visit from Elizabeth I of England during her reign. This grand room was reassembled from its original setting at Cassiobury Hall. The rich character of the first-floor library, known as Pope’s Parlor after famed writer, Alexander Pope, who is said to have written his “Essay on Man” in this room, features a welcoming fireplace and 16th-century Cedar of Lebanon paneling—a very subtle scent of this rare wood still lingers in the air to this day. The updated and expansive modern, eat-in chef’s kitchen and butler’s pantry are at the heart of the home and lead to the western terrace for sunset dinners or entertaining by the pool. 

The second and third floors are home to seven delightful bedrooms, the crown jewel being the opulent master suite.  The master bedroom, with a fireplace and views of the sunken garden, is entered through a sun-filled sitting room with corner fireplace, two spectacular bathrooms, two large walk-in closets, and a private elevator. The wine cellar on the lower level was once a massive art and silver vault for the Elkins’ priceless collection, which stored pieces now displayed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and is now a perfect place to host an intimate candlelit dinner or caviar tasting. 

Guildford sits on 18 stunning park-like acres. From the quiet woodland walking trails, the private pool and spa area and the sunken and terraced English gardens, you can spend countless hours exploring Guildford’s natural beauty. A wonderful surprise, the charming thunder shelter with a fireplace is a perfect folly for rainy days or snowy adventures. Adding to the enchantment and below the elegant event lawn, where the sun sets dramatically over the horizon, is the terraced amphitheater bordered by white blooming dogwood, providing a playful way to watch an outdoor movie or host a poetry reading, concert, or performance. 

Guildford is perfectly located within walking distance of the village of Chestnut Hill, recognized by Forbes as one of seven “Top Urban Enclaves,” with its cobblestone streets and chic boutiques. “Chestnut Hill is a magical place to call home: a place that feels like it’s out of a simpler time but not out of touch,” shared the current mistress of Guildford. The area is also home to highly rated schools, the renowned and storied Philadelphia Cricket Club, Wings Field private airport, three commuter train stations, the Woodmere Art Museum, Fairmount Park trails, and the Morris Arboretum. Guildford is an easy commute to Philadelphia’s Center City and a 90-minute drive to Manhattan. 

For more information, visit guildfordestate.com. The home is listed with Hannah Griswold McFarland (917.453.3632 or Hannah@kurfiss.com) and Randall Gianopulos (917.821.6930 or Randall.Gianopulos@sothebyshomes.com).