In January, Ewelme Down House, near Wallingford, Oxfordshire, was sold through Knight Frank for more than £10 million. Today sees the launch, through Savills (020?7499 8644) and Simmons & Sons (01491 571111), of Redpitts Manor near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, at a guide price of ?in excess of £9 million?. A rapidly expanding market where first-rate country houses are in short supply suggests that values more associated with the gilded enclaves of Sunningdale, Wentworth and St George?s Hill may soon be the norm for any good country house within an hour?s drive of London.

?It is rare these days to see country houses at £10m or more coming to the open market,? says Rupert Bradstock, of buying agents Property Vision, who maintains that 60% of all such properties are sold privately, within weeks of being offered for sale. But the surge in the number of super-rich potential purchasers both from within and without the UK means that the market for that ?special? country house is no longer confined to a handful of known contenders, argues Crispin Holborow of Savills. ?In the current market, the eventual buyer could be someone who hadn?t even thought of moving until this house came along?. Certainly, Redpitts Manor has much to tempt a wealthy buyer into moving.

The original manor was granted by Henry VIII to his sister, Mary Tudor, and remained in Crown ownership until 1627. The oldest part of the present, eight-bedroom main house, listed Grade II, is early Georgian, with the two brick-and-flint wings being later additions. The house sits in the centre of its 236 acres of wooded, undulating land, surrounded by immaculate gardens and grounds, with glorious views across the Chiltern valleys to open countryside. The estate?s amenities include a guest cottage, tennis court, swimming pool, and a party room as well as outbuildings, stabling and workshops.

This article first appeared in Country Life magazine on May 4, 2006.