This was a cornucopia of historical delights, but also a crumbling wreck needing man’s firm hand to right the ravages of time.
Properties had occupied the site since the seventh century, although two early wooden dwellings had succumbed to fire, and while a manor house of stone proved more durable it was ageing rapidly when we were asked to provide a life line. The main house was surviving as a bed & breakfast and wedding venue, but the conservatory was unused and its roof had collapsed.
To offset the cost of repair we built six new homes in the grounds, and while undertaking this work discovered structures that could have been props for Upstairs Downstairs. Underground ice houses, a water reservoir for the garden, and an early – if not the first – outdoor swimming pool were relics of an age before the gentrification of homes in the countryside and when the large country house was for pillars of the realm. They were patriots, however, and consented to letting the property be a hospital in both World Wars.
It would be fair to say these ghosts of the past were always close to our thoughts as we painstakingly restored the Manor to health. We have undertaken similar projects since, but this one stands out for being fantastic.
31,000 SQUARE FEET