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Domfront
€390,000
Property features
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  • 4 bedrooms
  • 6 habitable rooms
  • 154 square meters of living space
Property description
The listed “Manoir de la Sausserie”, a 15th & 16th century miniature castle and its outbuildings, with more than 6 ha of land, where the French departments of Orne, Manche and Calvados meet - ref 234249
The “Manoir de la Sausserie” is 255 km from Paris. Flers train station, 25 minutes away, has 2⅔-hour links to the French capital. Mont-Saint-Michel is 70 km away. The spa resort of Bagnoles-de-l'Orne in the midst of Andaine forest is 25 km away; Domfront-en-Poiraie, its train station as well as all shops and amenities are 5 km away. This seigneurial property stands in the Domfront region with its pear orchards.
The “Manoir de la Sausserie”, surrounded by fields and grasslands, is reached via a little road, followed by an access lane, winding its way between the farms. Two lakes, vestiges of moats, border the exterior facade of a miniature chateau porch way. In what was the inner courtyard remain a bakery, a well, a grinding wheel and ruins of a 19th century house. The dovecote and the ruins of a barn, both dating from the 16th century, are outside the perimeter of the moats.

The “Manoir de la Sausserie”

This seigneurial site, the origin of which dates back to Robert-le-Saucier, vassal to Eleanor of Aquitaine, has experienced several lives since 1195 whilst belonging to the same family.
It composed the main residence of the Saucier family and marked the beginning of the constitution of the seigneurial estate in the middle of the marshlands. Periods of prosperity and doubt succeeded one another. With the end of the One-Hundred-Years-War, descendants began constructing a tower porch way, surrounded by moats with a manor house in the inner courtyard, for defence purposes. The miniature chateau porch way is a real little fortress and most certainly originally housed the main residence.
Around 1860, the manor house was destroyed, the surrounding buildings fell into decline and the moats were filled in. Another house was constructed on the ruins of the manor house. All that remains is the miniature chateau.

The miniature chateau
This tower porch way is constructed from Armoricain sandstone, faced with granite. The roofing framework and the half-timbering are made of oak wood. All of the roofs are covered with chestnut shingle. The tower porch way comprises a square central pavilion and two squat, round towers, adjoining two corners. Between the two towers, a passageway in the central pavilion is closed by a drawbridge on each side. The fortified door was, therefore, originally completely surrounded by water. Two pavilions on the round towers are strangely set crosswise, overhanging on wooden corbels.
Inside the moats, the central pavilion forms a square projection. It is flanked by a bartizan (its twin having disappeared in the 1980’s) constructed from wood and brick and covered with shingle. The so-called imperial pavilion roof is topped with a small, elegant bell-tower. The roofs of the two pavilions topping the defence towers are both shaped like an inverted ship’s hull.

The round towers
The towers are approx. 13 m high and their walls are an average of 1 m thick. They span four levels which communicate with one another via little, interior spiral stairways. The walls of the first two levels of these towers feature numerous loop-holes of various sizes. The entrance to the miniature chateau is reached via a stone stairway leading directly to the second level of one of the towers. In fact, the low-ceilinged rooms on the first level lead solely to the loop-holes intended for firing on a level with the moats. Both towers are topped with a square overhanging pavilion with corbelling. On each level, spiral stairways lead to round or square rooms, illuminated via one or two openings and featuring fireplaces on the top two levels. The floors in certain of the tower rooms are covered with old square terracotta tiles.

The two overhanging pavilions with corbels
These pavilions feature wood and brick, alternately laid horizontally and vertically. They are topped with terracotta finials. Completely built from half-timbering, they are set on two beams, crossing at right angles. Their external base is surrounded by a canopy covered with shingle. The rooms are illuminated via two windows and heated via a fireplace with a wooden lintel, granite corbels and sandstone or granite jambs forming a semi-engaged column.

The central pavilion
The first two levels correspond to the vaulted passageway providing access to the courtyard. The curved vault of the passageway is semi-circular at the entrance, becoming a basket-handle arch towards the inside of the courtyard. On the exterior facade, three shafts set in the thickness of the wall housed the chains of the drawbridges for the pedestrian and carriage gateways. These shafts flank a Caen stone panel featuring the family coat-of arms. It is topped with two vertical openings, the second of which on a level with the domed roof has a little, gable roof. The rear facade features similar symmetry, but with two shafts for a drawbridge.
The spiral stairways lead to square rooms on the third level. They communicate with the room in the central square pavilion, spanning a floor surface area of approx. 37 m². This room is astonishingly bright. Three walls feature three openings. The fourth wall houses a granite fireplace. Its corbels, sculpted with scrolls, support a monolithic lintel, whist each jamb takes the form of a semi-engaged column.
On the fourth level, the domed roof goes down to the truss beams which are simply laid on the walls or on corbels. In the central room, illuminated via two openings, facing one another, stands a fireplace, a plainer replica of the previous one. This room provides access to the bartizan, illuminated via a small opening.
Five stages of restoration works have been carried out on the roofing framework, the roof and the carcass. A fifth to restore the roof and the second watch-tower is still to be carried out.



Our opinion
This manor house, under its chestnut shingle, is a sleeping beauty. Its elegance and charm immediately catch the eye evoking a desire to protect it. This is the only building of this Seigneury, dating back to the Middle-Ages, left standing. It is almost certainly because of its robustness, but perhaps also because of the curiosity provoked by its round and square forms, the rigidity of its chimney stacks and their coping as well as the airy elegance of its inverted ship’s hull and dome-shaped roofs, that it has come down through the ages. It is archaic, original and rare. This manor house should be saved so that it might be admired by all.
Not far from the manor house, land spanning 1.4 ha, with a second house, a barn and farm buildings in ruins, forms a second plot.
A third plot of land, spanning a surface area of approx. 37.5 ha surrounding the manor house is also available for purchase.
The land is rented on a 25-year, rural lease due to expire at the end of 2028.
Domfront, France
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