20 March 2014, One of Oxfordshire’s most distinguished estates, Yarnton Manor, has been launched to the market through Carter Jonas, with a guide price of £10 million.
The Grade II* Listed Jacobean manor is the principal house in the attractive village of Yarnton, north of Oxford. The manor is approached through fine stone gate piers adjacent to the church with a tree lined drive, and boasts magnificent gardens and a substantial portfolio of ancillary houses and cottages, all set in 29.5 acres.
The origins of Yarnton Manor go back to Norman times. From 1580 to 1712 it belonged to the Spencer family. Sir Thomas Spencer transformed it into a splendid mansion in the Jacobean style rebuilding it in around 1611 to fill three sides of a courtyard and making it one of the largest houses in the country, with wings projecting from the ends of today’s house towards the adjoining church of St Bartholomew. Various owners later, in the 1930s, the property belonged to George Alfred Kolkhorst, Reader in Spanish at the University and a passionate collector who entertained liberally. The poet John Betjeman was a frequent guest and described the house as “…more fantastic than ever.”
Since 1975 Yarnton Manor has been home to the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies (“the Centre”) and has now come to the market as the Centre is to relocate to central Oxford to allow it to integrate further into the University of Oxford’s teaching and research facilities. The estate is available as a whole or in lots.
Lot 1 is Yarnton Manor, which is currently in educational use but a planning application has been submitted to convert the manor to residential use, providing an eight bedroom house with four formal reception rooms and a large breakfast/dining room.
The manor retains many distinctive period features; architectural detailing includes shaped gables with obelisk finials, carved crest, fluted spilasters and large mullioned windows. Internally these details include carved and moulded stone and timber fireplaces and overmantels, original flagstone floors, elaborately panelled rooms and a substantial Jacobean style carved timber staircase.
Lot 1 also includes three cottages and the Barn, which currently houses the Centre’s library, in gardens and grounds totalling 26 acres. The Barn has the potential to be converted to include a swimming pool, gym, cinema, media room and staff flats.
Lot 2 is 32 Church Lane is the old vicarage, situated to the north of the church, which is Grade II Listed and dates from the mid eighteenth century. It has a large walled garden to the front and side, and offers six bedrooms over three floors together with potential annexe style accommodation to the rear.
Lot 3 is a development opportunity comprising a purpose built student accommodation building, a pair of semi-detached cottages, an attractive detached house and adjoining car park. A planning application has been submitted for the redevelopment of the student building and adjoining car park as three detached dwelling houses.
Lot 4 is Manor Farm. Lying to the south of Yarnton Manor, and adjacent to the woodland and paddocks forming part of Lot 1, there is a courtyard of traditional stone barns recently converted to provide seven two bedroom apartment-style cottages. There is a further building currently used as a library/office annexe. A planning application has been submitted for the redevelopment of the library as a detached dwelling.
Mark Charter, head of Carter Jonas’ Oxford office, who is handling the sale said: “Yarnton Manor is of great historical significance to the county and its sale offers a rare opportunity. Given the estate’s proximity to the University of Oxford, I anticipate it will appeal to another academic institution, who will buy it as a whole, or to a private buyer who is looking for an exceptional private residence in glorious Oxfordshire.”
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