Country houses for sale

‘One of the most magical properties in the South West’, with a rare blend of homeliness and grandeur

A truly wonderful home in Devon has come to the market: the grade I-listed Canonteign, in the Teign Valley.

Britain’s architectural legacy of great houses built in the country means has left the nation with a huge number of truly remarkable buildings. Yet while almost all offer grandeur, history and scale, very few are able to combine those qualities with truly cosy homeliness.

That makes it all the nicer to come across a house such as Canonteign, on the outskirts of the village of Christow, a few miles north of Exeter in the heart of the Teign Valley. This 400-year-old home  — which is for sale at £3.5 million — has ten bedrooms, a great hall, library and vast gym within its 11,422 sq ft, yet still manages to feel the sort of place that works just as well for family life as it does to impress guests.

Set in 10 acres of lovely gardens and parkland, gracious Canonteign Manor has been impeccably refurbished by its current and previous owners, and has some wonderful Tudor features, including linen-fold panelling and enormous stone mullioned windows.

Elegant accommodation includes a Great Hall, four fine reception rooms, a kitchen/breakfast room, 10 bedrooms, eight bathrooms, a self-contained staff flat and a luxurious 60ft gym space and steam room on the second floor of the house.

The sunken walled garden houses a heated swimming pool and a hot tub; it’s hard not to imagine the looks on the faces of Canonteign’s former residents over the centuries if they could see such wonders.

Canonteign Manor traces its origins to Domesday, when it belonged to the canons of St Mary du Val in Normandy. In 1268, it was turned over to the Black Canons of Merton Abbey in Surrey, who gave the place the name it still has today.

The Dissolution brought their ownership to an end, and it was one of many properties handed by Henry VIII to his close adviser John Russell, who became the 1st Earl of Bedford. Russell sold it to John Berry, after which it passed through a number of hands, one of whom — even the Historic England listing is hazy on exactly who and when —  built the present Elizabethan house.

The present owners have only had the place five years, but Mr Cooper explains that it’s a reluctant sale. ‘With the current owners having to spend the majority of their time overseas, it is with a heavy heart that they are looking to sell.

Whilst the building has been looked after, the property really needs someone to look after and love it for future generations to enjoy. This is a wonderful opportunity to own one of the most magical properties in the South West.’

Canonteign is for sale at £3.5 million via Fine & Country — see more details and pictures.