Milton Court is a 17th-century country house at the far west of the town of Dorking, Surrey. It was expanded and substantially rebuilt by the Victorian architect William Burges, and is a Grade II* listed building. The listing includes the attached forecourt walls, balustrading, terrace, piers, urns and ball finialsDecoration marking the top end of some architectural element such as a gable, newel post or fence post..
Originally a priory, the estate was granted to George Evelyn, father of the diarist John Evelyn during the Protestant Reformation. George Evelyn was lord of the adjoining manor of Wotton, Surrey where the family had established itself at Wotton House. The court was bought in the 19th century by Lachlan Mackintosh Rate, a wealthy lawyer, banker and philanthropist, who employed William Burges to undertake substantial rebuilding. Working in an ornate Jacobean style, Burges added twenty rooms, with elaborate fireplaces and ceilings. Perhaps the most successful is the Flower Room, formerly Mrs Rate’s boudoir, which the architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner has described as “a picturesque seven-bay house with shaped gables”.
The Rate family owned the house until 1936, following which it was used as offices and residences for London evacuees during the Second World War. The National Employers Life Assurance Company bought the property in 1965, and subsequently covered over many of its decorative features. The house is now in the ownership of the health insurance company Unum, which has worked to restore the house and its interior decoration.
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