Forget Emmerdale, the Cotswolds is where the action is. From May, when Savills launched Princess Michael?s Cotswold home, Nether Lypiatt, on the market at a guide price of £6 million, the region has rarely been out of the news.
In June, television presenter Anne Robinson advertised her Cotswold residence Field House near Bibury, on page 3 of Country Life, and sold it for about £3.5m through Knight Frank. Now Anneka Rice is scaling down her presence in the Cotswolds with the sale of Pember House at Langford at £1.4m through Hamptons, who are also seeking a buyer for Sharon Davies?s home, Foxhill, at Condicote, near Stow-on-the-Wold, at £1.85m.
But the longest-running property saga of all came to an end last month, when the artist Damien Hirst bought the 40,000sq ft, Georgian Gothic mansion Toddington Manor at Toddington, for slightly less than the £3.25m guide price through JacksonStops & Staff. Meanwhile, behind the headlines, leading Cotswold countryhouse agents are gearing up for what promises to be a busy autumn campaign, as the eternal cycle of death, debt, divorce and downsizing continues to bring a steady supply of classic Cotswold houses to the market.
Atty Beor-Roberts of Knight Frank in Cirencester (01285 659771) has his usual clutch of mouth-watering Cotswold manors, former rectories, old vicarages and village houses for sale all at eye watering Cotswold prices, of course.
Tranquillity, privacy and spectacular views may be abstract concepts, but they translate into hard currency in this part of the world. Add a beautifully restored, historic, Cotswold manor house ?of enormous architectural importance? with two cottages, stabling and 15 acres of gardens and grounds and you get Grade II* listed Througham Slad Manor Bisley, Gloucestershire the pick of Knight Frank?s autumn portfolio at £5.5m.
Built in the mid to late 16th century of Cotswold stone under a traditional stone tiled roof, Througham Slad Manor was owned for many years by the Cadbury family, who commissioned a number of alterations by Norman Jewson in 1931. In the 1970s, the house was bought by the musician Mike Oldfield, who used the cottage as a recording studio. Within the past year, the present Dutch owners have completely modernised the manor, rearranging the interior with scrupulous care to provide three main reception rooms, a huge kitchen/breakfast room, a master suite, six further bedrooms and five further bathrooms.
Hilcot House at Upper Cober-ley, 10 miles from Cirencester, is a classic former mill house in a gloriously peaceful setting on the banks of the River Churn, which has been virtually rebuilt by the present owners in a thoughtful adaptation of the Cotswold Arts and Crafts tradition to make the most of its magical waterside setting.
The main house has been linked to a traditional barn to create a total of 9,756sq ft of living space, including three main recep-tion rooms, a kitchen/breakfast room, a master suite, four further bedrooms, three further bathrooms, and the pièce de résistance a ?river room? built on columns sunk into the river bed, with fabulous views both up and down the river. At a guide price of £4.5m, the most likely buyer is a wealthy Londoner looking for a second home.
This article first appeared in Country Life magazine on September 15, 2005. To subscribe click here.