Country houses for sale

The idyllic Costwolds home of the thriller writer Felix Francis is up for sale

The dreamily beautiful Manor House in Hornton has been home to Felix Francis, the best-selling writer and son of Dick Francis, for 16 years, but now they are moving on.

Sitting at the very north-east tip of the Cotswolds AONB, and not far from the thriving Oxforshire market town of Banbury, is the village of Hornton, where a superb house has come up for sale: Grade II-listed Manor House, the home of the bestselling crime writer Felix Francis, the son of author and jockey Dick Francis.

Savills are asking ‘in excess of £4.5m’ for this seven-bedroom house, which  enjoys a central position in the village, set in about 4¾ acres. Outside is a two-bedroom detached cottage, stone-built outbuildings, a workshop, gym and stores.

In addition, there is an enclosed garden with an outdoor swimming pool and stone-built pool house.

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Banbury has been extensively extended and improved by Mr Francis and his wife, Debbie. The couple bought the property in 2007, when Mr Francis gave up his role teaching science to take up writing full time. He worked on several novels with his father, starting with the publication of Dead Heat in 2007. His latest book, No Reserve, is published today by Zaffre.

Mr Francis says it has been a perfect setting for family Christmases and is an endless paradise for games of sardines with the grandchildren. ‘I have written 16 of the “Dick Francis novels” here in the expansive office,’ he says.

‘The house has been a great inspiration for my writing, but Debbie and I feel that, with our children now having flown the coop, it is time for another family to have stewardship of this historic Oxfordshire property.’

Nicholas Rudge, head of Savills Banbury, says the house will suit a host of domestic and foreign buyers, due to the area’s international reputation. ‘I can see this house being very popular with those looking for the perfect historic home, set within a beautiful village on the edge of the Cotswolds.’ 

Manor House in Hornton is for sale via Savills — see more pictures and details.

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