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'Remarkable' country home's win

By This is Somerset  |  Posted: April 14, 2011

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Historic Southill House at West Cranmore has been chosen as the South West regional winner of a national competition.

The England's Favourite House competition run by Country Life magazine, in association with estate agents Savills, was launched last autumn to find England's favourite house and celebrate a unique part of English life.

A total of 150 nominations were received from across the country – all highly individual houses of exceptional beauty, importance and history.

They were sent in by people who chose houses they knew and loved or had admired from afar, as well as from owners themselves, delighted to already be living in their favourite house.

The overall winner was Eyford House, a classic Cotswold house in Upper Slaughter, Gloucestershire, where, legend has it, poet John Milton was inspired to write Paradise Lost. And the judges – pottery designer Emma Bridgewater, director of OKA and designer Annabel Astor, racehorse trainer and author Charlie Brooks, and Oscar-winning writer and creator of Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes, selected Southill House as the South West regional winner.

Mr Fellowes said: "The special gift of the English country house is for reinvention.

"Each generation takes the tradition and makes it their own in a continuous stream of change and development.

"Southill is astonishingly successful as a traditional country house that has been perfectly equipped for modern living. It is beautiful and comfortable, its setting is superb and convenient. In short, Southill is a remarkable achievement."

Approached along a sweeping drive through its own parkland, Southill House has recently been renovated by its new owners into a modern family home. The Grade I listed manor house, with its mellow Somerset contours and Ashlar facade, dates from the early 18th century.

Mark Hedges, the editor of Country Life magazine, said: "The search for England's favourite house has taken the judges all over the country. Everywhere, they saw houses of the highest quality and charm and in the South West region, Southill House won the hearts of all the judges."

Crispin Holborow, head of Savills country department, who sponsored the award, said: "Southill House has the appealing combination of a traditional country house in a magnificent setting, with a gym, cinema, the kitchen, huge areas for sitting or dining, perfect for family living, alongside the grand drawing room and the Regency hall."

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