Penny Churchill takes a look at Rossley Manor, a beautiful estate in the Dodswell Valley near Cheltenham.
The concept of ‘building back better’ is nothing new; for centuries, country landowners have been remodelling their homes, estate buildings and even the landscape — as the launch onto the market of this exceptional property demonstrates.
For sale for the first time since 1993 and only the second time since 1582, the pale-grey stone buildings of historic Rossley Manor appear to grow out of the hillside of the wooded Dowdeswell Valley, four miles from Cheltenham and 14 miles from Cirencester, Gloucestershire. Clive Hopkins of Knight Frank quotes a guide price of £10 million for the picturesque Cotswold estate, comprising a Grade II-listed manor house, a cottage, garage block, stabling, outbuildings and sporting facilities set in 140 acres of pasture and woodland, with magnificent views across the valley to the dramatic Malvern Hills.
In the early 16th century, the Rossley Manor estate was owned by Winchcombe Abbey and leased to Richard Rogers and his family. After the Dissolution, Richard’s son, William, by then the lessee of neighbouring Dowdeswell Manor, acquired Rossley Manor in 1582, after which both estates passed down through various branches of the Rogers family.
In the 19th century, Rossley Manor was one of the main farms in Dowdeswell and when, in the early 20th century, Charles Coxwell-Rogers installed himself in the main farmhouse, he retained 73 acres of land before selling the rest of his estate in the late 1920s.
In about 1930, having transformed the original 16th-century farmhouse and its attached courtyard into a large, rambling country house in the Cotswold Revival style, with a swimming pool, tennis and squash courts, he opened a residential country club called Rossley Manor.
He died in 1953, leaving Rossley Manor to a kinsman, Lt-Col R. A. Coxwell-Rogers, who ran it as a country club until 1966, eventually selling the estate to its present owner in 1993.
Some 15 years ago, the entire Rossley Manor estate was upgraded in a major programme of works that included the re-roofing and renovation of the 12,192sq ft manor and courtyard and the refurbishment of the garage wing and squash court.
The house now offers seven reception rooms, nine bedrooms and five bathrooms, plus a cinema room and an indoor swimming pool, with extensive stabling in the main courtyard.
A separate courtyard houses four carports, three garages, a wine cellar and storage space with potential for conversion to a two-bedroom flat.
Catch up on the best country houses for sale this week that have come to the market via Country Life.
Where in the Cotswolds should you move to? The answer will depend on what is more important to you and