Country houses for sale

A beautiful 15th century house that was home to a supermodel caught up in the Profumo scandal

Bronwnen Pugh was acclaimed as one of the world's most beautiful women in the 1950s and married Viscount Astor in 1960 — only for her life to turn upside down as her husband was caught up in the Profumo scandal. Following his death, she left Cliveden to start a new life at Tuesley Manor, near Godalming, at a house which is now seeking a new owner.

Godalming has a special place in the history of English country houses and gardens: it was the setting for the early collaborations between the architect Edwin Lutyens and the plantswoman and garden designer Gertrude Jekyll, both of whose fortunes were also intertwined with Country Life.

This ancient town, six miles south of Guildford in south-west Surrey, lies in a great valley of green meadows, with the River Wey meandering through and wooded hills rising all around, on the spurs of which the outlying parts of the town are scattered. This beautiful landscape hides many delightful homes, and one of them is currently for sale at a guide price of £4.95 million: Tuesley Manor.

At some point in the 11th century, the manor of Godalming was divided into two. The principal part was the King’s Manor, which was held by the Bishops of Salisbury from 1221 until the Dissolution and sold by Elizabeth I in the early 1500s to George More of Loseley Park, whose direct descendants still own the estate.

The second part, including the hamlet of Tuesley, was known as the Rectory Manor, which was granted to Salisbury Cathedral by Henry I in the early 12th century, and remained with the Dean and Chapter until the mid 19th century. Leased by the Cotillion family for much of that time, the manor was transferred in 1846 to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, who began to break up and sell off the estate in the early 1860s.

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Currently for sale through the Guildford office of Knight Frank, Tuesley Manor dates from the 15th century, and, according to Historic England, was re-clad and extended in the 16th, late 17th and 19th centuries.

Discreetly located off Tuesley Lane, 1½ miles south of Godalming and six miles from Guildford, the house has been further extended and upgraded by the present owners, who bought it in 2002.

The manor house stands in a wonderfully private setting, protected to the north by a large bank of woodland and to the south by a high stone wall that separates it from the country lane.

To the north of the house, sloping lawns run down to the brook that traverses the garden from east to west, before rising up to meet the ancient woodland.

The 12 acres of grounds include a disused tennis lawn and, to the west, an indoor swimming pool housed in a traditional barn with retracting side walls.

It was to Tuesley Manor that the late Bronwen, Lady Astor, moved from Cliveden following the death in 1966 of her husband, William Waldorf, 3rd Viscount Astor, in the wake of the Profumo affair that rocked 1960s Britain and led to the collapse of the Macmillan government.

Lady Astor had been one of the supermodels of the early 1960s, but moved her life on in a different direction after arriving at Tuesley. She reinvented herself as a psychotherapist and spiritual adviser, she converted to Catholicism in 1970 and, for a time, ran a small retreat centre in the grounds of her Surrey home.

Happier times: Viscount Astor (1907 – 1966) pictured on 14th October 1960 at Hampstead Register Office where he had just married model Bronwen Pugh. (Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)

Today, Tuesley Manor is a family country home of character and charm that retains many of its original features. Built of the local Bargate stone and brick under a tiled roof, the extensively refurbished main house is an interesting mix of old and new.

It offers more than 6,800sq ft of living space on three floors, including a large kitchen/breakfast/family room leading to an airy dining room overlooking the courtyard garden.

The spacious drawing room, located next to the open hall with its inglenook fireplace and original oak beams (the oldest part of the house), has views over the main gardens, with a study, gym and mezzanine store room completing the ground-floor line-up.

The first floor is home to the principal bedroom suite, which has access to an east-facing roof terrace, with three further bedrooms and two bathrooms on the second floor.

Further accommodation is available in the two-bedroom Garden Cottage and the one-bedroom The Retreat, which boasts an open-plan kitchen/living room and a games room, currently used as an artist’s gallery, which opens onto the gardens.

Tuesley Manor is for sale at £4.95 million — see more details and pictures.

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