One of the original gatehouses to the Shardeloes Estate is on the books of Northwood Wycombe's rental department for £3,000 a month.

The oldest parts of West Lodge on the Missenden Road at Old Amersham date back to the 18th century when the architect Stiff Leadbetter and later Robert Adam provided the mansion described by Edmund Burke as "the perfect specimen of elegant English residence" for one of the wealthiest commoners in England, William Drake.

According to the records, the total cost of the mansion was £19,129 19 shillings and fourpence by its completion in 1766.

Almost 250 years later building materials from a Roman villa were discovered on the 50-acre estate when the present owner of West Lodge put in plans to extend the gatehouse in 2003. Before work started on the extension, four evaluation trenches were dug to find out what archaeological treasures they might uncover. In one they found deposits of building materials probably dumped there when a villa was built on the site by the Romans.

The four-bedroom lodge is now an enviable country home with all the comforts for third millennium lifestyles such as three bathrooms including one with a walk in shower, an open plan living area with a designer kitchen, parking for several cars in the drive and a tributary of the River Misbourne running along the edge of the one-acre garden.

Just a short walk away is the famous Shardeloes lake in the grade II* listed grounds of the mansion laid out by the revered 18th century landscaper Hump-hrey Repton. He observed at the time "it is one of the most beautiful situations in England." Given there's now a station up the road with trains to London in 30 minutes, commuters would probably say it still is.