Mansion and title for £1.25m

By Rebecca SheppardA COUNTRY mansion has been put up for sale for more than £1million – and the new owners will be able to officially call themselves the lords of the manor.

By Rebecca Sheppard

A COUNTRY mansion has been put up for sale for more than £1million – and the new owners will be able to officially call themselves the lords of the manor.

Olden Manor is set in the conservation village of Higham in the Stour Valley, a designated area of outstanding natural beauty famous for its depiction in the works of the artist John Constable.

The 16th century house is on the market for £1.25m and comes with the title Lordship of the Manor, which dates back to the 10th Century.

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The Grade II listed timber-framed building is full of period features, including exposed beams, leaded windows and grand fireplaces emblazoned with coats of arms.

It also has an unusual Great Hall, which extends to the full height of the five-bedroom building and has a Jacobean staircase leading from it, as well as a panelled drawing room and study.

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The estate, which includes rose beds, a pond and gates monitored by stone gargoyles, is 0.8 acres big.

The Archdeacon Dr Brian Kirk-Duncan, who has owned the property for about 14 years, said: "I am selling the manor because I rattle about in it. I am going to stay in Wiltshire with my daughter as she has a granny annexe.

"The lordship is just a title and it has no responsibilities with it. I am going to be sorry to see the manor go," he added.

Mark Oliver, who is a director in charge of the Ipswich branch of FPD Savills, the estate agents selling the manor, said they had not sold a house complete with a title for about three years.

He added: "There has been a lot of interest in the manor. It is a fascinating house and it is a pretty amazing place. It has an incredible hall, which is the best I've ever seen."

A number of celebrities have bought manorial titles in recent years, including former boxer Chris Eubank, who paid £45,000 for the Lordship of the Manor of Brighton in 1996 – also acquiring feudal rights to 4,000 herring and three cows a year, plus one slave.


n The Manor of Olden dates back to the 10th Century and is mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086.

n King Stephen confirmed the lordship to the De Vaux family in 1138.

n During the second and third crusades, members of the De Vaux family joined the knights of the three great orders, the Hospitallers of the Order of St John, the Templars, and the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, against the infidel occupiers of the Holy Land.

n John De Vaux inherited the lordship in 1224. It passed to William de Huntingfield, who was the son of King John's widow, Isabella. He had married the granddaughter of William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, who was an ancestor of George Washington, the first president of the United States of America.

n In 1385, Richard III made Michael de la Pole, Lord Chancellor of England, the Earl of Suffolk and also awarded him the Lordship of Olden.

n Lord Hunsdon succeeded to the manorial title in 1596. He died in 1603 and his widow, Lady Elizabeth Eure, had dower of the title until 1618. She was the daughter of Sir John Spencer – ancestor of the late Princess of Wales, the Duke of Marlborough and Sir Winston Churchill.

n The title passed to the present owner, the Archdeacon Dr Brian Kirk-Duncan, who is a Master of Arts of the University of Oxford as well as a Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy of Trinity College, Dublin. He is a past president of the Sion College in London and sub-prelate of the Most Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem.

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