Residential | Oxfordshire’s 20th Century literary and operatic heritage comes to market - Garsington Manor
Date of Article
Jun 10 2012

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Coast 10 June 2012, Over the last century, Garsington Manor, one of Oxfordshire’s most admired country houses, has played host to the pinnacles of Britain’s cultural, literary and political heritage. This sensational family home is now on the market with Carter Jonas ( at a guide price of £6.5million.

The Grade II listed Jacobean Manor House was built in the 1620s on the southern edge of Garsington village. Set in 11 acres, the property has 12 bedrooms, five reception rooms, and five bathrooms and boasts panoramic views of the Wittenham Clumps on the Sinodun Hill, and beyond these, the Berkshire Downs.

The grounds feature a plethora of attractive outbuildings and listed formal Italian style gardens which until recently hosted the world renowned Garsington Opera for almost two decades.

In 1913 the manor was bought by ‘Queen of the Bloomsbury Set’, Lady Otteline Morell, and her husband Philip, who were not only responsible for putting the house on the cultural map, but for completely restoring the former farmhouse and creating landscaped Italian-style gardens, which include a beautiful ornamental lake enclosed by yew hedges and set about with statues.

Garsington became a retreat for some of the Morells’ well-known contemporaries, including Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, Aldous Huxley, T.S. Eliot, Siegfried Sasson and W.B. Yeats, to name but a few.

Notably, during the First World War the Morells invited Clive Bell and other conscientious objectors from the Bloomsbury to come and work on the home farm to avoid prosecution.

From 1928 the house had several changes of ownership including Dr. Heaton of Christ Church, Oxford, who rented the house to artist Thomas Lowinsky during the Second World War. It was then sold to Sir John Wheeler-Bennett. As Sir John was a friend of King George VI, Garsington once again attracted high-profile visitors, including the Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan.

Garsington Manor hosted its first opera in 1989 when Opera 80 (now English Touring Opera) was invited to stage outdoor performances of The Marriage of Figaro in aid of the Oxford Playhouse. This same score was reproduced twenty years later for the final operatic performance at the house. The opera company has now moved and performances are held at the Wormsley Estate in the Chiltern Hills.

Garsington Manor

Mark Charter, head of residential sales at Carter Jonas in Oxford, comments, “Garsington Manor is not only one of the most culturally important residential properties in Oxfordshire but also one of Britain’s most picturesque and beautiful country homes.

“There are very few Jacobean country houses of this calibre in Britain, so Garsington Manor represents a truly unique purchasing opportunity. When you combine the attraction of this quintessentially British country house, with its beautifully maintained Italian gardens and the rich cultural and artistic heritage of Garsington Manor there are very few homes which could match it.”

Garsington Manor is for sale through Carter Jonas ( at a guide price of £6.5million. For more information please call Mark Charter at Carter Jonas in Oxford on +44 (0) 1865 511 444