A £2m budget wouldn't go far in the leafier parts of south-west London, but look at Exmoor and you'll find more — such as this extraordinary and historic 11-bedroom mansion. Penny Churchill tells more.
Grade I-listed Whitechapel Manor, a striking country house set in some 14 acres of terraced gardens and grounds on the southern edge of the Exmoor National Park, has come to the market through Edward Clarkson of Knight Frank in Exeter, who has it on sale at a guide price of ‘excess £2m’.
Situated three miles from the market town of South Molton and 12 miles from the north Devon coast, Whitechapel Manor is built of the local stone, with two wings and a central porch. It’s described in its Historic England listing as ‘an outstanding house with a remarkably well-preserved interior’.
The layout is arranged so five of the six reception rooms face south, as do the master bedroom and two main guest-bedroom suites: all these rooms enjoy views across the formal walled and terraced gardens.
There are eight further bedrooms on the first floor, all with en-suite bathrooms.
According to local records, the ancient manor house was the earliest-known residence of the influential Bassett family until 1603.
It passed through several families before being bought at auction, in about 1800, by John Sanger of South Molton, who later boasted that the purchase had financed itself, he having cut down and sold enough timber on the estate to cover the cost.
In his book The Blackmore Country (1911), Frederick Snell reported Whitechapel as being owned by a Captain Glossop, adding that ‘the place is now in thoroughly good hands, but it has naturally suffered from having been so long a farmhouse, the occupiers of which were profoundly indifferent to its contents and history’. The good times were about to roll again.
By 1926, Whitechapel was owned by Albert Lloyd, whose great-great-grandfather had co-founded Lloyds Bank in 1765. In 1962, his widow died and left the estate to a nephew, who sold it, splitting it into lots, one of which was the manor house, together with about 14 acres of land.
In 1984, this was acquired by John Shapland and his wife, Patricia, who converted the manor into a luxury hotel. They sold it in 1996 and it reverted to being a private family home, which has been extensively refurbished.
Rich, unctuous and wickedly good, clotted cream is the pride of the West Country.
Catch up on the best country houses for sale this week that have come to the market via Country Life.