In rural England, an Elizabethan country house with a moat, a huge swath of pastoral land and links to Virginia Woolf and the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire has hit the market for £2.6 million (US$3.1 million).
Standing regally at the end of a tree-lined drive, the timber-framed manor, known as Blo Norton Hall, hosted Woolf in the summer of 1906, according to Savills, which listed the home on Thursday.
Woolf documented her journey from the nearby railway station to the house, which is in a particularly secluded part of Norfolk, writing “every mile seemed to draw a thicker curtain than the last between you and the world. So that finally, when you are set down at the Hall, no sound whatever reaches your ear; the very light seems to filter through deep layers; and the air circulates slowly, as though it had but to make the circuit of the Hall, and its duties were complete.”
The property also served as the setting for her 1906 short story “The Journal of Miss Joan Martyn.”
That same year, Prince Frederick Duleep Singh, son of Sir Duleep Singh, the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire, rented the hall and lived there for the last 20 years of his life, Savills said.
“Blo Norton hall is an extraordinary example of Elizabethan architecture, from the moment you arrive sweeping down the lime tree avenue, through to the incredible details you are inundated with when walking through the main door, this house is very special,” said Ben Rivett, co-head of Savills Norwich.
He said its architecture and intriguing history make the manor house “a real gem amongst the country houses of East Anglia.”
The nine-bedroom home is loaded with period charm, inside and out, with mullion windows, octagonal chimneys, stained glass, original paneling, large open fireplaces and original flooring.
At the heart of the house is the dining hall, with its 16th-century paneling and grand proportions. It leads through to the drawing room, a living room with access to the gardens, and a modern open-plan kitchen and dining area.
There are two further reception rooms, two separate staircases and a games room.
The manor sits on close to 75 acres that are home to formal gardens, lawns, brick-paved terraces, a pond, an orchard, meadows and a tennis court.
There are also two cottages that are available by separate negotiation, according to Savills.
Mansion Global couldn’t determine when the home last changed hands, or how much for.