The Tudors


A classic Tudor manor home in Dorset, dating to the 15th century came to the market Wednesday, asking £7.5 million.

The home, named Athelhampton, was originally owned by an English noble family, the Martyns, and is believed to have been built in 1485, according to Camilla Elwell of Savills, who holds the listing with Luke Pender-Cudlip of Knight Frank. Years later, the manor was not used as a primary home, so it was never developed, preserving its classic Tudor architecture.

“Quite often, homes of this age were redeveloped in the Georgian or Victorian times,” Ms. Elwell said. “But the house was let out to farmers, so it was just a farmhouse. That’s kind of why it was protected in such a historic state.”

The home was eventually restored in 1891 by a new owner, inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement. He also added the gardens, which have since been one of the most prominent aspects of the 29-acre estate.

Patrick Cooke’s grandfather purchased Athelhampton in the 1950s, and he inherited the home in 1987. He and his wife, Andrea, have allowed the gardens to be open to the public, and they also run a wedding venue business out of the property.

“The gardens are very structural,” Mr. Cooke said. “There’s lots of walls, fountains and balustrades, and they have 12 topiary pyramids, which is the flagship part of our garden that is internationally recognised.”

Mr. Cooke and his wife have decided to part with the home to retire from the 30-year business they have run out of it and move to a smaller house.

Ms. Elwell said they anticipate finding a buyer who is interested in the home’s commercial aspect, especially to offset maintenance costs, but not necessarily on the same scale as the Cookes, who run 60 to 70 weddings each year.

“The property certainly lends itself to [business], but it’s not compulsory,” Mr. Cooke said. “I hope someone finds pleasure in living in such a historic property and would like to show it to the public on occasion, but I’m sure they’ll do it differently from me.”

Although the manor was mostly restored in the late 19th century, it still has its original great hall, which has triple-height carved ceilings.

Despite keeping the Tudor essence over several centuries, Ms. Elwell said the 12-bedroom home has remained liveable and has been well maintained by its owners. She said the home has been kept up to date with bathroom and kitchen fixtures, central heating and en-suite bathrooms in most of the bedrooms.

“What’s quite exciting is obviously it’s an amazing piece of history—which is so rare to come to the market—but it’s in good condition, which is a huge plus,” she concluded.

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