Moated hall up for sale at £1.8m

OTLEY Hall the former home of one of the founding fathers of America is on the market for nearly £2 million.The 15th Century moated hall enjoys great recognition across the Atlantic, and once housed Bartholomew Gosnold, who was credited with founding the first permanent English-speaking settlement of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607.

OTLEY Hall the former home of one of the founding fathers of America is on the market for nearly £2 million.

The 15th Century moated hall enjoys great recognition across the Atlantic, and once housed Bartholomew Gosnold, who was credited with founding the first permanent English-speaking settlement of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607.

The Gosnold family occupied the house for 300 years, from around 1400, first as tenants then owners. The family was related to the Royal Family through Winifred Windsor who married John Gosnold, the third son of Robert Gosnold III.

It was the rich history of the hall that drew the current owner Nicholas Hagger to Suffolk six years ago. A prolific writer and poet, he was entranced by the story of Bartholomew's adventures.


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But with a new grandson in Essex and a home in Cornwall, events have overtaken the 64-year-old man of letters and his original plan to retire at Otley, along with his wife Ann, is now impracticable.

Efforts to entice a trust to take on the hall, to preserve the historical link with Virginia USA, have so far failed and the house is now on the market with FPDSavills of Ipswich for £1,800,000.

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With ten bedrooms, six bathrooms and a separate conference centre, it offers potential to anyone with a business eye, said Mr Hagger.

The Grade I listed building, nine miles north of Ipswich, could also be home for a large family, he added.

Mr Hagger, who owns three private schools in the Epping Forest area, opened the property to the public eight times a year, giving guided tours. He also ran a small business hosting conferences and corporate hospitality days at the hall, which also has a small tea room.

He said: “I have had a wonderful time here and have enjoyed every minute but I have interests in Essex and properties in Cornwall and end up charging up and down the country and something has to give.

“We've done a lot to the place in one way or another. The American connection is obviously very important but the hall would be a wonderful opportunity for anyone. The new owner is under no obligation to open it to the public or run any kind of business there. It should go to someone who can really put all their energies into it.”

The 10 acres of gardens at the hall include an H-shaped canal, nutteries, croquet lawn, rose garden and moat walk with a herber, orchard and knot garden designed by Sylvia Landsberg, author of The Medieval Garden.

The house has also been connected with Cardinal Wolsey. It is thought some of the Hall's linenfold panelling may have come from Hampton Court Palace.

Other features include 16th century wall paintings celebrating the marriage in 1559 of Robert Gosnold III and Ursula Naunton. Outside, the lofty chimneys, herringbone brickwork and vineleaf pargetting are further evidence of a splendid history.

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