Country houses for sale

Privacy personified at this Suffolk home with its own moat

This 16th-century home near Hoo has been recently modernised and comes with six bedrooms, but more importantly, a fully functioning moat

According to its official list entry as a Scheduled Monument, Godwins Place, near the tiny East Suffolk village of Hoo in the picturesque Deben Valley, four miles north-west of Wickham Market and three miles southwest of Framlingham, is one of some 6,000 moated sites known in England, the majority of which were built between 1250 and 1350 and located in the central and eastern counties. Most moated sites were linked to aristocratic and seigneurial residences where the presence of a moat was intended as a status symbol rather than a practical military defence.

The moat is well-stocked with fish, who keep it clean.

The present Godwins Place is a 16th-century timber-framed farmhouse with 17th-century additions located on the site of an earlier, much larger manor house built by one John Godyn or Godwin, who, in the early 1400s, purchased the reversionary interest in the Hoo estate from the widow of Thomas de Hoo.

Thomas’s mother was a Wingfield and the estate later reverted to the Wingfield family, who held it until 1706, when Sir Henry Wingfield apparently sold the manor to William Hendrik of Nassau, 1st Earl of Rochford.

The moat may be ancient, but the kitchen certainly isn’t.

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Now for sale through the Ipswich office of Jackson-Stops at a guide price of £1.85 million, Godwins Place, which is independently listed Grade II, has been meticulously refurbished and updated by its present owners, whose much-loved family home it has been for the past 20-odd years.

Surrounded by its moat and 5½ acres of lovely gardens and grounds, the house sits at the end of a long, tree-lined drive and offers some 4,217sq ft of well-laid-out accommodation, including a vaulted reception hall, a 30ft drawing room with exposed ceiling stud timbers, comfortable sitting room, spacious study and an elegant dining room.

The interiors retain plenty of period charm.

The fully fitted kitchen is modern, with a gas/electric range and Neff appliances. Upstairs, a galleried landing leads to the master bedroom, which boasts a dressing area with a walk-in wardrobe and large wet room. There are three further double bedrooms and two bath/shower rooms on this floor, with a walk-through bedroom on the second floor leading to the sixth bedroom and a fourth bathroom.

If you’re going to have a moat, you might as well have a galleried landing too.

Many of the rooms enjoy views across the moat and the gardens beyond, with a stable door in the kitchen leading to a charming moat-side terrace. The property benefits from oil-fired central heating, with underfloor heating throughout the ground floor. A new boiler was installed in 2023 and there is also a modern security system.

One of the many outdoor spots from which to enjoy the moat. Laugh at your enemies as they helplessly try to breach your defences.

There are two bridges across the moat, which is well stocked with fish to keep it weed free. One footbridge leads to an area of formal garden and a kitchen garden; the other, a floating pontoon bridge, leads from the rear terrace to a pretty garden with an intriguing brick folly. This whole area is enclosed and sheltered by maturing trees including oak and ash and, if greater privacy were required, you could build your own drawbridge, selling agent Jonathan Penn suggests.

Godwins Place is for sale with Jackson Stops for £1.85 million. For more pictures and information, click here

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