One of the finest privately-owned houses in England, a 14-bedroom, Grade I listed country house set on 160 acres of parkland, has gone on the market with a price tag of £7.5m.
Thomas Hardy was a regular visitor at the 15th century Athelhampton House in Dorset, whose owners have included William Pole-Tylney-Long-Wellesley, fourth Earl of Mornington and nephew to the Duke of Wellington.
It was acquired in 1957 by the family of the late Conservative MP Robert Cooke, who have now put it up for sale, with an inventory that includes five bathrooms and a cinema.
Lindsay Cuthill, at the estate agent Savills, said: “It’s a magical Tudor manor. It’s surprisingly domestic. You don’t feel as if you are standing in an echo-y place at all – it has a real warmth to it.
“It’s not full of Henry VIII, but it has got a long and rich history and I don’t think you need to have kings and queens going through the house for it be a very historic place.”
She said it would suit “a private family who wanted to live in a historic piece of England and pull up the drawbridge, so to speak”.