Country houses for sale

A divine manor house in the heart of the South Downs — just beware of the naughty peacocks

Errant peacocks and playful gargoyles are just some of the former inhabitants of seven-bedroom Folkington Manor in East Sussex

When thinking about the 88 acres and 10 bedrooms of Folkington Manor, it seems almost absurd to describe it as a picture postcard.

For a start, you’d likely need more than one postcard. But, it’s the combination of exquisite views, trimmed topiary, flawless lawn and mature trees, centred around a graceful Victorian manor, that make Folkington — which is currently for sale at £10m — such a gem of the South Downs.

There’s been a house on this ancient site since Domesday, but the present building was created in the 1840s to the designs of a W J Donthorn. Taking advantage of a previous farmhouse on the site, Donthorn built a bay-windowed Tudor style property, which, according to an article of April 3, 1958, in Country Life, ‘is faced with beautifully squared and knapped flints and has amusingly Gothic gargoyles’.

Plenty of intricate period details remain.

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Further correspondence to the magazine in 1969, from an R Stacy-Marks, speaks of seven peacocks that used to roam the grounds and, indeed, further afield, with Stacy-Marks imploring other magazine readers to supply him with tips to keep them from wandering into various people’s gardens half a mile away.

No doubt those peacocks have long gone; but at least any prospective buyers thinking of installing a flock will be forewarned that they’ll need to think about keeping these birds entertained and away from the neighbours.

Plenty of that period whimsy and charm remain in the property, the interiors of which feature plenty of ornate plasterwork, wood panelling and exposed beams. And plenty of modern comforts have also been added, thankfully, including a cinema room and refurbished kitchen/dining space.

In all, the house has seven bedrooms, six reception rooms and five bathrooms — though as you might guess, looking at the price, the main house is just the beginning.

Outbuildings provide plenty of space for staff, guests, horses and parties

Outside, the extensive gardens and grounds take advantage of the glorious South Downs countryside, but also feature plenty of ancillary spaces, in the form of an entrance lodge, a guest cottage, two staff flats and a party barn.

The elegant Folkington Manor sits at the heart of 88 acres of pristine countryside.

20 loose boxes and an outdoor manege are ideal for those with equestrian interests.

The property is approached by a long sweeping drive, to let you live out your Downton Abbey fantasies. 

Idyllic, and yours for £10 million.

Folkington Manor is listed with Knight Frank at a guide price of £10 million — see more details and pictures.

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