The magnificent Fredley Manor, in Dorking, has entertained some of the world's most famous people in the past two hundred years, proving that some of the best parties happen outside London.
Set in 20 acres of gardens, paddocks and woodland in a quiet corner of the Surrey Hills AONB, secluded, Grade II-listed Fredley Manor at Mickleham, near Dorking, is one of Surrey’s best-kept secrets.
Approached over a long, rising carriage drive and surrounded by National Trust land, it has a rural feel that belies its proximity to central London, which is just 27 miles away.
For sale through Knight Frank’s Cobham office at a guide price of £3.95 million, this elegant, 18th-century house was built around a 16th-century core with later additions.
Its present custodians, James and Cherry Fuller, bought Fredley Manor — tactfully described as being ‘in need of TLC’ — in 1995. The Fullers have substantially renovated and extended the house, which now offers some 6,000sq ft of warm and welcoming living space, with all the rooms enjoying panoramic views of the impeccably landscaped gardens.
The ground floor comprises twin entrance halls, a sitting room, a panelled drawing room, a library, a dining room and a kitchen/breakfast room, plus a family room, a study and a cellar; the upper two floors house six bedrooms and six bathrooms, including a charming master suite.
The beautifully maintained grounds comprise eight acres of woodland, an eight-acre field, and roughly four acres of landscaped gardens that have been Mrs Fuller’s area of expertise.
They include manicured lawns, terraces, herbaceous borders, a swimming pool and pavilion, hard and grass tennis courts and a garage barn with space for three cars and an office above.
Also available, by separate negotiation, is a two-bedroom cottage with a garden and planning consent to extend to four bedrooms.
Fredley Manor also has a long history during which it has played host to some of the world’s great and good.
Originally a cottage on the ancient Fredley Manor estate, as the date-stone of 1597 over the front porch reveals, it was bought in 1803 by Richard Sharp, a successful West Indies trader, whose ready wit and social acumen earned him the nickname of Conversation Sharp.
Sharp divided his time between his house in London’s Park Lane and his gentrified ‘cottage home’ at Fredley, where, between 1797 and 1835 — the year he died — he entertained an eclectic mix of writers, poets, thinkers and politicians, among them Sir Walter Scott, William Wordsworth, Samuel Coleridge, Michael Faraday, Lord Macaulay and the unforgiving Justice Jeffries, to name but a few.
Although Sharp himself never married, his adopted daughter, Maria Drummond, who was orphaned following a volcanic eruption on her native Caribbean island of St Vincent, inherited his fortune and went on to maintain his tradition of lavish entertaining, both in London and at Fredley, between 1843 and 1891.
The good times rolled again between 1970 and 1990, when Fredley Manor was owned by the Australian-born novelist, film director and producer James Clavell. Film and TV legends such as Roger Moore and Larry Hagman, together with high-powered executives from major Hollywood studios, were regular visitors to the Surrey manor.
The pace of life at Fredley is considerably more sedate now, although the opportunity is always there for lavish entertaining.
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