The political world is drawing former West Country MEP Alexander Stockton back to Brussels, where he plans to establish a permanent base. As a result, the Earl and Countess of Stockton are selling their 300-acre Hayne Manor estate at Stowford near Okehampton, Devon, through Knight Frank (01392 423111) and KVN Stockdale (01566 776886) at a guide price ‘in excess of £5.5 million’, in what Will Morrison of Knight Frank dubs ‘the most important West Country estate sale of 2006’.

The original Hayne Manor was built in the late 1500s for the Harris family, whose seat it remained until 1864, when the estate was bought by the Blackburn family. Traces of the Tudor building can still be seen in the castellated Victorian manor house, built between 1810 and 1865, the design of which Pevsner attributes to Sir Jeffrey Wyattville, although according to English Heritage, Hayne does not appear in Robinson’s catalogue of Wyattville’s works. During the Second World War, Hayne Manor was the local headquarters of the land army. After the war, part of the estate was bought by Group Captain Chichester who turned the house into ‘a chaotic but much-loved family home’.

The present owners, who bought the estate 12 years ago, have renovated the 16,480sq ft house and its buildings to the standards of its Victorian heyday. Hayne Manor, listed Grade II, has some splendid formal rooms, a magnificent staircase hall, eight bedroom suites and a ballroom. The surrounding estate includes a traditional Victorian stable courtyard and cottage, a three-bedroom lodge, a five-bedroom farmhouse and three further cottages, plus an outstanding shoot and fishing on the River Thrushel.

This article first appeared in Country Life magazine on July 13, 2006.