To buy, or not to buy, that is the question.
Colne Priory—a historic residence in the picturesque English village of Earls Colne, in Essex—has been listed for £7 million ($8.4 million). The impressive estate comprises a 14,000-square-foot main residence and a three-bedroom guest cottage. The countryside property was owned for centuries by the aristocratic de Vere family. Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford and the only surviving son and heir, sold the estate in 1583. Today, some scholars believe that the Elizabethan poet-dramatist was none other than the “real” William Shakespeare—though others consider the theory debunked.
Here’s what we know to be true. According to Strutt & Parker, which holds the listing with Knight Frank, the main building of the present home was constructed around 1825. The stately abode was later extended in the 19th century and once more in 2007 by its current owners. “The house sits on a really historic site dating back to the Battle of Hastings and was held by one prominent family for centuries after—it’s a very special place,” said Mark Rimell, a director in Strutt & Parker’s Country Department, in a press statement.
Special indeed. Spanning close to 24 acres in total, its expansive grounds feature a tennis court, an outdoor swimming pool, orangery, equestrian facilities, garage, potting shed, gazebo and an aircraft hangar to be used for storage or as a workshop. There are also two conservatories—a walled garden and an orchid garden.
On both the inside and out, the property maintains its grandeur and period appeal. Think ornate ceilings, stained glass accents and oak woodwork throughout. “Colne Priory is truly an architecturally magnificent house. There’s no denying the presence that Strawberry-Hill inspired gothic can bring with the arched windows, intricate brickwork and towering chimneys,” Rimell added. To bring the dwelling into the 21st century, its owners have added modern amenities such as underfloor heating, outdoor speakers and a steam room.
Included in the three-floor layout of the main residence is a spacious kitchen/living area, library, study, drawing room, a gym, billiard room, large wine cellar and five total bedrooms. Additional accommodations on the property include a former chapel that’s been transformed into a cottage, which harks back to the building’s early days as a Benedictine priory. It boasts three bedrooms and can be used as a whole or divided into two separate apartments.
“The house today has been impeccably looked after and extended by the current owners—marrying the character of the house with all the mod cons today’s buyers are looking for. And with privacy and space high on the list of most top-end buyers, the impressive gardens and grounds make Colne Priory a bit of a sanctuary from the rest of the world.”
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