Viscount and Viscountess Newport, Alexander and Eliza, are planting the seeds for generations in more ways than one. The young couple is restoring their Bradford Estates, creating communities and tracking their lost ancestral heirlooms. Today, their countryside retreat is blossoming in more ways than one too - step inside for an exclusive peek.



The heart of Woodlands House in Shropshire: the ruby-red dining room, wrapped in Cole & Son striped wallpaper © Taylor Hall O'Brien


The future Earl of Bradford, Viscount Alexander Newport, and his wife, Viscountess Eliza Newport, are retracing their family emblems one auction at a time, salvaging and rehoming lost treasures, from paintings and decorative objects to dinnerware and furniture. The pair are the proud custodians of Alexander's family abode, Woodland House, an historic home that now teems with joy and fresh energy.

Dinner parties, soirées, and slow living are customary here - this pair are the hosts with the most - while fresh paint and rehung heirlooms on the 18th-century walls spotlight the couple's detective work and knack for conservatorship through decoration. Reuniting with their lost heirlooms - sold, gifted or mislaid by previous generations - is, “a fun exploration, albeit neverending” and the pair have developed an encyclopedic knowledge of their predecessors' chaptered history.


The glorious attic bedroom, featuring Colefax & Fowler wallpaper and an assortment of corresponding Wedgwood Jasperware (see below); © Taylor Hall O'Brien 


A lack of legitimate Newport family sons paved the way for an advantageous marriage in 1719 between Sir Orlando Bridgeman and Lady Anne Newport. Their son, Sir Henry Bridgeman, would ultimately inherit Weston Park, Alexander's family seat in Shropshire. Woodlands House, thought to be designed in the mid-18th century by Georgian architect James Paine, initially served as the home farm to Weston Park - part of Sir Henry Bridgeman's expansive commissions on his newly inherited estate.

Although Weston Park is now under the custodianship of a charitable organisation, Woodlands House mirrors the architectural accents of such grandeur. A maze of corridors, keystone arches etched with the family plaque and handcrafted pillars echo the stature of their former monumental house, “within the walls.”

Walking through the house, a quick swerve to, “an essential painting of Sir Orlando Bridgeman”, the man behind the family's fate, “is a must”. Enshrined upon the emerald green Cole & Son wallpaper, commissioned in the 1990s by Alexander’s mother, is an oil on canvas portrait of Knighted Orlando. The celebrated lawyer turned Baronet is cascaded above his modern-day heirs in silver frames, including Alexander as a child and the couple on their wedding day. “We haven’t changed too much since we moved in,” notes Eliza of the Shropshire home, which manages to be both cozy and grand.

Designed in the 1980s, Woodlands is awash with English cottage attire, epitomised by the jewellery-box drawing room. The undisturbed yet lavish space is draped with Percheron's Chintz-style swagged curtains, complete with equally twee trimmings by Claremont. In keeping with the dress code is a satinwood George III cylinder bureau (c.1790) inherited from Weston Park. Hanging in the hallway is a painting by Flemish artist, Pieter Casteels III, notorious for his four-legged works of art. The commission is prized on Alexander’s wall. Today, current pooch, cocker spaniel, Daisy, can be found glancing into the garden awaiting her “promised pawtrait”.

Upstairs, the Chintz continues: a pocket-sized bedroom is graced with a blue and cream floral Colefax & Fowler wallpaper, and upholstery on the alcove walls, curtains, headboard and valance, while the glorious attic bedroom is ribboned with an assortment of corresponding Wedgwood Jasperware. In equal measure, a somewhat hidden “posy pink” bedroom has taken note from the Drawing Room at Weston Park, with its powder pink walls. As though plucked from a fairytale, the space has a youthful vibrancy, with vases of roses plucked from Eliza’s budding garden. 

Throughout the home, you can’t help but notice the towering abundance of colorful ceramics. Ablaze in blue, orange, and magenta, they are an homage to Alexander’s great-great-grandmother, Ida Countess of Bradford. Alexander followed suit, collecting Japanese Imari and multiple period Chinese ceramics and porcelain. “We have some heirlooms from Weston, but I often collect through an antique dealer in London called Timothy Langton, who specialises in sourcing,” he says.

Like most homes of prestige, the winding staircase exhibits a gallery of ancestors. Some sourced from Weston Park, others “bought from cousins' estates and at Christie’s and Sotheby’s”. A noticeable large-scale painting from the late 1650s depicting Diana Russell, Lady Newport, by court painter Peter Lely, dominates the drawing room. The piece “has a brilliant story to tell,” forming part of Lord Clarendon’s collection of portraits that decorated his gallery at Clarendon House.

The heart of the home is the ruby-red dining room. Wrapped in Cole & Son striped wallpaper, the space features a haul of treasures retrieved when hunting for their Bridgeman-stamped bestowals. “Some pieces we have exchanged as birthday surprises, others we have acquired through private sales. Turning over a plate and finding our family name is quite fun.” Regardless of their journey home, each has a place at Woodlands; some can be found labelled and stacked against the walls. Fresh from a winning auction, Eliza will find each one a place in their home.

The 20th-century mahogany table is often dressed for elaborate dinners where guests sit on George Ill-style satin birch dining chairs. Locally sourced dishes are served in Weston-worthy silver alongside a 19th-century cut glass table candelabra. A spotlighted oil painting by Sir John Ferneley is, "the most important picture in the home”, a talking point for candlelit banquets. “Our family were important equestrians in the 18th-century and 19th-century, with the Third Earl of Bradford, Orlando, being the Master of the Horse to Queen Victoria,” Alexander notes.

The charming farmstead is a haven for the entrepreneurial pair who have hatched an exciting set of plans for their sizeable land and businesses, Bradford Estates. Everything in their portfolio is conditioned in the same nourishing manner, with the couple cultivating wildflowers, farming sustainably, preserving monumental properties, and expanding the historic forests. Their efforts are already evidenced by the trotting lambs roaming the regenerative land, cascading canopies of woodlands, blooming florals, and a secret pink (now rentable) house.


The East Front of Weston Park, the ancestral home of the Bridgeman Earls of Bradford family, gifted to the Weston Park Foundation in 1986 © Taylor Hall O'Brien

The home has retained a relaxed conviviality, and there is no question as to why. The couple are as charming as their house. Despite the frills and status of such titles, Eliza and Alexander are determined to roll their sleeves up and make a change in their enduring community. With newsworthy plans ahead, the future is bright at Woodlands House, and for the Bradford Estates. Watch this space.


The drawing room at Woodlands House, wrapped in emerald green Cole & Son wallpaper, commissioned in the 1990s by Alexander’s mother © Taylor Hall O'Brien

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