On the Market: Guildford Manor in Wyndmoor
Imported from 16th-century England, this huge estate home just outside Chestnut Hill took a decade to build. You can create memories to last a lifetime here.
The rain basins on the storm drains here at Guildford Manor in Wyndmoor are dated “AD 1589.”
Of course, you know that this is not the year this picture-postcard-perfect English Gothic manor house for sale was built. But it comes pretty close to the year its parts were made in England.
This truly one-of-a-kind estate house is a veritable museum of Elizabethan English domestic architecture and design. And it might not have happened were it not for a trip industrialist George W. Elkins, oldest son of oil, streetcar and railroad baron William Elkins, made to England in 1915.
There he called on an old friend, the Duke of Sutherland, owner of the historic Sutton Place estate in Surrey. Awed by what he saw on his visit, Elkins spent the next ten years importing architectural elements, woodwork and even entire rooms from distressed English country estates and assembling them inside a reinforced concrete shell. (Henry Mercer would be so proud.)
Elkins named the estate for Guildford, the small town near Sutton Place in Surrey.
Unfortunately, he would not live to see the completion of his masterwork in 1925. His widow oversaw its completion. While it was being completed, ownership passed through two more families with ties to Elkins before landing in the hands of the University of Pennsylvania.
Penn sold the estate off in pieces, and the current owner of the manor house bought the largest piece of it in 2005.
That piece comprises 18 beautifully landscaped acres, this 20,000-plus-square-foot mansion, and a detached carriage house.
Its main living spaces come dressed to impress and filled with genuine English craftsmanship. They’re also spacious enough to accommodate entertaining and charitable fundraising on a grand scale. (Paging Allison Weiss Brady: Looking for a distinctive space for your next charity event? You might want to give the agents below a call.)
Not everything about them is pure Elizabethan, though. Its kitchen, of course, is totally up to date, augmented by a wood-burning fireplace at eye level behind the range and visible from the island bar.
But every room in this house offers unmatched elegance, as these photos should make clear. Even its numbers impress: Thirteen working fireplaces. Nine separate climate control zones. Two elevators, one serving the private areas and one serving the staff support areas. A large home office, gym and sauna.
A master bedroom suite with a sitting room, two bathrooms, two walk-in closets and a sunlit dressing area.
And a huge wine cellar, fashioned out of the vault built to store valuables.
There’s even more to see on its parklike grounds, which are dotted with specimen trees marked by the Morris Arboretum.
In addition to the great lawn and pool in back of the house, the grounds contain an amphitheater ringed by dogwoods. All three of these outdoor features were added to the estate by the current owner. You can also find woodland walking trails and sunken and terraced English gardens on the property.
Another thing this manor house for sale offers is convenience. It’s a pleasant walk from here to Chestnut Hill’s lively and sophisticated shopping and dining district. Gravers Regional Rail station lies along the way as well.
If you seek a house that’s truly unique, something not even imitated, let alone duplicated, your search ends here.
THE FINE PRINT
BATHS: 7 full, 5 half
SQUARE FEET: 20,159
SALE PRICE: $9,300,000
OTHER STUFF: The carriage house garage can accommodate four cars.
Guildford Manor, Wyndmoor, Pa. 19038 [Hannah Griswold McFarland and Donald Pearson | Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty]