About this property
Great Tangley Manor, which is listed Grade I, is described by Pevsner in The Buildings of England as ‘the most impressive of Surrey’s moderate collection of half-timbered houses.’ It is thought to be the UK’s oldest continuously inhabited house.
Since 1947, Great Tangley Manor has been owned by 4 different families. The current owners have carefully and sympathetically upgraded aspects of the property, the most notable change being the addition of a ‘glass box’ extension, which won the New Building’s Category of the Waverley Design Awards in 2007.
The current owners purchased Great Tangley Manor in two stages as the property had been divided into two wings, under separate titles namely; Great Tangley Manor and Great Tangley Manor West. Understandably, they could not pass up the opportunity to unite the two sides under their ownership and restore the property’s original ‘manor’ house status.
Until recently, the wing referred to as Great Tangley Manor West, has been used primarily as a holiday letting venue and has mixed use Class C3 and Class D2. It has an independent entrance, three magnificent reception spaces, a kitchen, study, cloakroom, five bedrooms and three bathrooms, one of which is en suite. One of the bedroom suites also benefits from a dressing room and one of the bathrooms is of original Art Deco design. Two ground floor reception rooms, three bedrooms and two bathrooms occupy an extension that was built by Philip Webb whilst the further reception room, two bedrooms and bathroom are situated in a ground floor extension added in the 1960’s.
The adjacent wing, Great Tangley Manor, has been occupied by the current owners as a family home and has three fabulous principal reception spaces in the reception hall, drawing room and dining room. This wing has access to the 40ft indoor heated pool, sauna and office. At first floor level there are five bedrooms, two dressing rooms and three bath/shower rooms. The medieval meets Arts and Crafts arrangement affords surprisingly generous room proportions and ceiling heights throughout.
Whilst the property as a whole presents an extraordinary opportunity to own a piece of architectural history that functions as a comfortable family home, the capacity for separate living and accommodation spaces could also suit an incoming buyer with multi generational living requirements or with designs for letting one or more parts of the property, subject to any necessary consents. The present owners have advertised the property as a corporate event/meeting space and sporting (ie yoga) retreat. Great Tangley Manor has been used as a location for film and television purposes on a number of occasions.
The structure of the present gardens was devised by Wickham Flower at the end of the 19th century. It was recorded as being one of the most progressive gardens of the 1880s. Characteristic of the Arts and Crafts Movement, the integration of house and garden is at the centre of the design, with the house spilling out into the garden in a series of out-door rooms. The walled garden and formal lawn to the South West epitomise the romantic English country garden with gloriously full borders, rich in texture and colour. The moat, which encircles the property is one of its most spectacular, defining features.
Beyond the formal gardens, the grounds extend into a wilder, natural setting which features an array of important specimen trees. Of particular note is the King John Oak and a magnificent tulip tree. The lake hosts an abundance of wild life and is surrounded by a variety of beautiful trees and planted with irises and bullrushes. The Bog garden, which has been described as one of the most successful of its kind in the country, is planted with white bells, candelabra primulas, azaleas and bamboo and enclosed with stunning rhododendrons in shades of pink and red in the Spring. Adjacent is the wisteria walk, which has featured in several books, and which runs almost the entire length of the lake.
Within the grounds there is a hard tennis court and a WWII air raid shelter. The gardens are divided into rooms true to the Arts and Crafts tradition. There are two garages and numerous stores.
The land also encompasses a substantial meadow, which the current owners have previously used as grazing for horses.
The stable yard, which was originally built as a helicopter hangar and landing space, is situated between the South-West garden and the meadow. It is in need of restoration but offers a useful footprint, particularly for those with equestrian needs, and the possibility of development-potential, subject to consent, or reverting to use as a helicopter hangar.
- The attractive and ancient village of Wonersh lies some 3.5 miles South-East of Guildford and is surrounded by The Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Wonersh has a parish church, surgery, public house, village shop and Post Office. Whilst these amenities provide for daily needs, nearby Cranleigh and Guildford provide a more comprehensive range of shopping, leisure and cultural amenities.
- The main line station at Guildford offers a fast and frequent service into London, with journey times from around 36 minutes.
- The A3 provides access to London, the South coast, airports and the national motorway network via the M25 interchange at Wisley. Good schools in the area include St Catherine’s, Lanesborough, Tormead, Guildford High School, Royal Grammar School, Cranmore, St Teresa’s, Cranleigh, Charterhouse and Prior’s Field.
- Recreational opportunities include golf at several local clubs; The Spectrum Sports and Leisure Centre; racing at Epsom and Sandown Park; and polo at Ewhurst. In addition, the surrounding countryside, including The North Downs Way and the Downs Link paths, offers excellent walking and riding.
- All times and distances are approximate.
- There has been a dwelling on the site of Great Tangley Manor since 1016 and some of the walls are of Saxon origin. It was reputedly Prince John’s hunting lodge in the twelfth century but part of it was lost in a fire. It was partially rebuilt as a Medieval Hall house in the fifteenth century. The Tudor frontage, upper floor and some of the panelling was added in 1582. The owner of the house at that time allegedly contributed to The Crown during the battle against the Spanish and, in return, was given some timbers from the Spanish Armada, which are now in the dining room.
- In 1759 the manor house was bought by Lord Grantley who let it as a farmhouse for the next 100 years. In 1859, a tenant farmer, William Colebrook, started non-conformist services on Sunday evenings in the kitchen with people such as David Livingstone preaching. The United Reform Church, which was built later as a result, still stands in Wonersh village.
- In 1885 the house was bought by Wickham Flower, a founder member of the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings and part of the Arts and Crafts Movement. He commissioned Philip Webb, the famous architect, to design various extensions, with furnishings by his good friend, William Morris.
- On Flowers’ death, Colonel Kennard, an MP, bought the manor and was often visited by Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. Queen Mary, George V, the Duke of York and the Duke of Kent were also notable visitors. The house passed to Kennard’s daughter and son-in-law, Ria and Fritz Ponsonby, Lord Sysonby, whose daughter, Loelia, married the Duke of Westminster.
- The current owners have carried out extensive works to the property including; exterior decoration, electrical upgrades, installation of a wood pellet heating system, installation of 3 electric car charging points, drive re-surfacing, dredging the lake, re-building the Tennis Hut and adding estate fencing. There is a monitored alarm system. The study and garage adjacent to the boiler room both benefit from air conditioning.
- Directions: From Guildford, head South on the A281 towards Horsham. Continue for 1.7 miles, then at the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Kings Road/A248. After 0.9 miles, continue on to Wonersh Common/B2128. In 240m, turn left onto Great Tangley and continue until you reach the entrance for Great Tangley Manor. All distances are approximate.
- EPC Rating: G
- Tenure: Freehold
- Council Tax Band: H