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Close up of brass detailing on front door - Dedham - Beresfords Estate agents - Essex

What lies beneath – Homes with hidden secrets

On the face of it a historic home offers bags of character and attractive period features, but Essex’s rich and diverse history has meant that a number of period properties in the county have fantastic stories to tell.

From bastions of the Reformation to safe-havens during the Second World War, here is a selection of properties which have intriguing hidden pasts.

 Mawbyns, a Grade II listed six bedroom home, dates back 500 years and has a secret Second World War air raid shelter hidden beyond the rose garden. The shelter has a door at both ends, with walls that are 18 inches thick. While there is less need for shelter from air raids these days, it doubles as a very useful wine cellar.

Another claim to fame for this property is that the previous owner, H A Gwynne (former editor of the Morning Post and then the Daily Telegraph), was a former colleague of Rudyard Kipling and a friend of Winston Churchill and evidence reveals that Churchill visited Mawbyns and played tennis on the old courts.

Now Mawbyns is a fantastic family home boasting a wealth of period features such as exposed beams, open fireplaces and solid oak flooring. Externally there are garages, stables, a leisure complex with indoor pool and hot tub, and 5.5 acres of land. The property also benefits from excellent road and rail links to Central London, as well as Stansted Airport located only six miles away and Great Dunmow which is just one mile away. The property is on the market through our Country Homes team for £1.85million, so contact James for further details. Little Warley Hall, on Little Warley Hall Lane, in Brentwood, dates back to the 16th Century when it played a role helping persecuted Catholic priests escape the Reformation.  During the 1520’s secret underground tunnels were used to connect the property to the nearby church, aiding the getaway of the priests. An ancient moat was also built around the property to protect it, of which fragments to the south and west of the house still remain today, and part of the house is also listed in the Domesday Book.
The recent history of the property is much less dramatic! Although the current vendors have renovated the interior and created a brilliant fusion of historic period feature and modern family comforts. The property also benefits from an outdoor heated swimming poll, with pool house, and beautiful gardens, including a large pond and summer house. The property is available for sale through our Country Homes team for £1.75million.

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