The next owners of the illustrious Manor House at Downton, Hampshire currently on the market through Cluttons (01962 760207) at a guide price of £1.6m have an even harder act to follow, for this was once the home of Sir Carew Raleigh, elder brother of Sir Walter, who was a regular visitor.

Originally an early-14th-century hall house, the existing manor house dates mainly from the 17th century when the Raleigh family embarked on a frenzy of building and ?modernisation? in advance of a visit by Elizabeth I.

Much of its impressive woodwork is thought to have come from ships? timbers, with a mast or boom used to support the main staircase; a focal point is the beautifully panelled Great Parlour with the Raleigh coat of arms set above the fireplace.

There is an engaging simplicity about the interior of the Manor House, which has five reception rooms, a kitchen/break-fast room, five bedrooms and four bathrooms. This is a house for a connoisseur, as its Grade-I listing precludes it from ever becoming ?makeover? material.

This article first appeared in Country Life magazine on July 20, 2006.