The Fascinating History of the British Manor House

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,

There has been a renewed interest in the romantic ideal of the English Manor thanks to the popularity of shows like Downton Abbey. These giant estates were built by families with vast wealth and power and became central to communities that they were built in. They provided parks, employment, entertainment, gossip, and nightlife to the people that lived near them. They also received royal guests on many occasions.

Napoleon's dining room at the Louvre in Paris

During WWI and WWII many of these estates housed soldiers, or became hospitals, and, as the old hierarchy and ways of making money to support these properties started to change, they started to fall into disrepair. It takes an unbelievable amount of wealth to maintain these buildings and their grounds. As a result, many families became forced to sell, desert, or rent out portions of these stately homes. Many sales are going to foreign companies or conglomerates that are looking for foreign investments.

Recently, an Asian company looking for foreign investments bought Wentworth Woodhouse —rumored to be Jane Austin’s inspiration for Pemberley in her novel Pride and Prejudice. This estate has a fascinating history — its sprawling, massive main house came to be because of a vicious rival between brothers — and the video below explains the history of the home and gives you a sneak peak into some of the stunning restored rooms as they look today. 

If you want to see some modern-day manor homes, check out some of the bespoke properties for sale with Christie’s International Real Estate. (I'm seriously addicted to this site — some of the homes are breathtaking!)