Country houses for sale

Live and let live in the gorgeous former monastery that’s been home to everyone from iconic Bond girls to legends of music

Jane Seymour bought this stunning house a few years after becoming one of the most celebrated Bond girls in the entire 007 series; now, it's seeking a new owner.

Shrinkflation earned its grim reputation through the shrinking of Dairy Milk and Yorkie bars, but it feels like it’s now been spread far beyond the world of chocolate.

Take the phrase ‘Bond girl’, for example. It used to have a pretty clear meaning, highlighting an actress who’d been made a bona-fide star by appearing opposite Sean Connery or Roger Moore in one of the 007 films. These days, it feels like it’s a label that gets slapped on to anyone who’s managed to pop up as an extra in the long-running series. Oh, you served Pierce Brosnan a drink, did you? Well done, here’s your ‘Bond girl’ badge. What’s that you say? You were walking along a pavement when a stuntman in a Daniel Craig wig drove past? Welcome to the club. Your Wikipedia page will be ready shortly.

Thankfully there are a few ‘proper’ Bond girls cut from the original mould. Brilliant and talented actresses who were already world famous before sharing a screen (and invariably a bed) with James Bond, or who used the notoriety earned in their appearance to launch long, successful careers. Honor Blackman, Britt Ekland and Famke Janssen all spring to mind, but right up there with them is Jane Seymour, star of Roger Moore’s inaugural appearance as 007 in 1973’s Live and Let Die.

‘Oh James, don’t you just want to run away from it all and buy a country house in Somerset?’ — Roger Moore and Jane Seymour in Live and Let Die (1973). Credit: Eon Productions / Alamy

She’d had a bit of TV work in a BBC series called The Onedin Line, but the global stardom she found alongside Moore and his versatile eyebrows turned into a long, successful and award-winning career. A career successful enough, in fact, that she was able to buy herself the gorgeous, Grade I-listed St Catherine’s Court in Somerset. She has since moved on, but Seymour’s old house is now up for sale again at £12.5 million via Savills.

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Seymour first saw St Catherine’s Court while making the television film Jamaica Inn in 1981, and it was love at first sight for both her and her then-husband David Flynn: ‘We had one day’s filming here, and by evening David and I had fallen in love with the place,’ she told Architectural Digest in a January 1991 article.

It’s not hard to see why. With 11 bedrooms, five reception rooms, breathtaking views and a wonderful location just outside Bath, this is a dream of country house.

Original features abound within, with wood-panelled rooms, stone mullioned windows filled with stained glass, ancient floors, cavernous fireplaces and more.

Seymour and Flynn bought it, renovated it and lived in it for a decade until their marriage broke up in 1992. After that, St Catherine’s was was rented out as a film set and recording studio: Radiohead recorded most of their classic album OK Computer, and everyone from Robbie Williams to The Cure has lived and worked here.

Since 2007 the house has changed hands a number of times, and has become popular as a wedding venue in the area.

It’s been well kept throughout, with the house and gardens having undergone restoration work to bring both to their former glory.

The property also includes more than just the main house: there is a Grade II*-listed medieval barn, an old school house that’s been converted into a cottage, and a five-bedroom lodge near the gates of the 14-acre plot.

St Catherine’s Court is for sale via Savills at £12.5 million — see more pictures and details. And if all this talk of Jane Seymour and Bond films has put you in the mood, viewers in the UK can currently watch ‘Live and Let Die’ on ITVX. It’s surely worth watching for the classic Wings theme tune alone.