Country houses for sale

When 150 acres of magnificent Oxfordshire just isn’t enough? Buy the estate, and pick up the next-door neighbour as part of the deal

The sale of one great Oxfordshire farm estate has prompted the sale of its neighbour — a situation that throws up intriguing possibilities, as Penny Churchill explains.

Why buy one Cotswolds farm when you can buy two? That’s the question being posed in north Oxfordshire, where Philip Hoare of Savills Farms & Estates in Banbury is handling the sale of two previously integrated farming estates: the 158-acre Hornton Grounds, seven miles from Banbury, and the 503-acre Manor Farm at Hornton, almost six miles from Banbury.

Both were sold separately to different owners back in 2009. As neighbours, the vendors were well known to each other, and when the owners of Hornton Grounds revealed their intention to downsize, the owners of Manor Farm suggested that they launch the properties at the same time, thereby giving a prospective purchaser the chance to create a single large farming estate of some 660 acres.

Hornton Grounds, Oxfordshire.

It all makes perfect sense, given that Hornton Grounds centres on a substantial, Grade II-listed Queen Anne-style farmhouse surrounded by modern and traditional farm buildings, whereas Manor Farm is a large arable unit with a modest, three-bedroom bungalow, two sets of farm buildings and planning consent to build a five-bedroom principal farmhouse.

Manor Farm at Hornton. Or a small part of it anyway.

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With Hornton Grounds on offer at £3.95m for the whole, and Manor Farm for sale, jointly with Butler Sherborn, at a guide price of £6.5m for the whole or in four lots, this means that a prospective purchaser with long-term investment in mind could acquire a historic farming unit in a prime north Oxfordshire location for a total outlay of some £10m to £11m. Early enquiries suggest that about half of interested parties support that line of thinking, Mr Hoare reveals.

Idyllic. Hornton Grounds, Oxfordshire.

Hornton Grounds stands at the centre of its land, which is currently farmed under a farm business tenancy (FBT) until May 2027. Although, according to the owners, no deeds exist for the house, it is believed to have been built of the local Hornton stone between 1680 and 1690.

Inside the beautiful house at the heart of Hornton Grounds, Oxfordshire.

Part of the 5,500sq ft, five/six-bedroom farmhouse, now in need of updating, is arranged as a separate cottage, which runs with the farm as part of the FBT. It comes with traditional farm buildings with potential for development, formal gardens, a walled garden, orchard and an avenue of trees leading to an Edwardian former tennis court, now used as a manège.

A lake is included at Hornton Grounds. And we bet if you asked nicely they’d throw in that dinghy.

Manor Farm, Hornton, is a productive arable farm currently split into three adjoining parcels, with an additional arable holding at nearby Alkerton. Planning consent has already been granted for the demolition and replacement of the existing bungalow and farm buildings with a 4,000sq ft, five-bedroom farmhouse and modern outbuildings.

Manor Farm, Hornton. The land, not the buildings, are very much the draw here… but potential is self-evident and permission is already in place.

The permission allows for a house of generous proportions built to a traditional vernacular style of local Hornton ironstone under a slate roof, together with a range of outbuildings, including stables and storage, in a courtyard setting.

Hornton Grounds and  Manor Farm at Hornton are for sale via Savills, and Savills and Butler Sherborn respectively. Follow the links for more pictures and details.

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