Historically, ambitious courtiers were awarded their estates by a grateful monarch in return for outstanding services to the Crown. In the late 1500s, it was Sir Christopher Hatton?s talent for dancing at the court of Elizabeth I which led to him being granted the site of Cottingham Hall, Northamptonshire, or Bury House as it was known then. Named by local historian George Clark as one of Northamptonshire?s ?top 100 houses?, of which only 51 are still standing, Cottingham Hall, listed Grade II*, and once part of the abbey of Peterborough, dominates the centre of the Roman village of Cottingham, eight miles from Kettering.

On the market for only the second time in 46 years?through Bidwells (01604 605050) and King West (01858 435970) at a guide price of £1.875m?the present hall dates from the 17th century, with some fine 18th-century rooms radiating out from a large panelled reception hall added around 1810. The house stands in some three acres of lovely formal gardens, which include a secret walled garden with a rockery, a waterfall, and a heated outdoor pool. The accommodation includes three main reception rooms, a garden room, six bedroom suites, eleven bathrooms, and a separate flat and an adjoining cottage.