IMG_14633_11_largeAs we retrace the history of this grand 19th century family home, set on a 2 acre plot, amidst the peaceful surroundings of Yateley, we uncover some interesting facts about this rare character property that has ‘Royal’ links … admittedly, not the ‘Royal’ you may be thinking.

Owning a home rich in history and character certainly possesses a real sense of novelty.  For most of us, particularly those for whom a period property is not even on the agenda, the endearing story and invaluable charm of the property only grips us as we enter the grand grounds, soon followed by intrigue as we observe the distinctive qualities of the home, where it becomes evident the walls of this home would certainly have a few tales to tell.  

Thriftswood is one such home, as we look back to its former roots, we build an image of a loving home owned by an affluent family who invested dearly in their community. This unique Edwardian home dates back to 1929, owned by the Stilwells, who at the time, were the most prominent family in Yateley. For many years they were a local “landed gentry” family who owned most of Yateley, not to flaunt their wealth, but simply so that John SHilfield-1929-from-the-air-1tilwell could walk from his home to the community church, St Peter’s, every day. John Stilwell along with his wife Elizabeth Stilwell, were very conscious of the responsibilities of their wealth and class, becoming pillars of the community with their active involvement in the work of the village and church. The pair, said to have an impressive energy, were charitable to community affairs, a legacy positively sustained by their offspring. As such, numerous community events were held on the grand grounds of their former family home, Hillfield, and Thriftswood. During World War II, many weary British and Commonwealth aircrew from the nearby RAF Hartford Bridge (Blackbushe Airport) also enjoyed respite here.

John Stilwell found his wealth through banking, inheriting Stilwell & Sons bank, bankers for the Royal Navy from his father. Their high society ties, overtime, allowed them to establish links with Admiral Nelson and Sir Robert Fitzroy, founder of the Met Office. The bank was later taken over by the Royal Bank of Scotland, (hence the Royal links) now part of the NatWest banking group.

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Cpt A C Martin, an eminent student of Lutyens, also responsible for extending the chapel at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, was instructed to design this rare structure, while the family were still living in their main home, Hillfield. An incidental fire destroyed the family home, resulting in the widow of George Stillwell with her two young children, to settle here in Thriftswood, where they continued their involvement in the church and village affairs. Being a close-knit family, the property was named Thriftswood, in memory of her mother-in-law, Elizabeth Stilwell. And as they say, the rest is history….

Along with a wealth of history, this one of a kind home enjoys a sense of grandeur and striking character features. Individual attributes extend through all three storeys of this stunning home, where the ground floor encapsulates four reception rooms, the kitchen/breakfast room, a cloakroom, utility and boot room, while the first features five sizeable bedrooms and three bathroom suites. Continuing onto the versatile second floor, where a further bedroom and snug can be found.

This Edwardian home is set on two acres of mature grounds, set within a conservation area of Yateley, adjoining the Commons and a nearby lake. These expansive grounds contain stables and outbuildings, offering an array of uses, while the highly commutable location could quite easily accommodate the whole family, serving close links to the A30 & M3, while reputable schools, including Hawley Place, also complement the vicinity.IMG_14633_15_large

The magnetism of Thriftswood’s historic architectural and rural surroundings is invaluable, so if you are prepared to fall in love with an individual property you can call home, take a step into Thriftswood. Contact us on 01252 844015 or email hartleywintney@mackenziesmith.co.uk