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About the Old Manoir

The Old Manoir dates back to the last quarter of the 16th century, about 1590.


Although much altered throughout its history there are many elements that remain from this early beginning.

The most notable of these is the oak spiral staircase in the tower, the central support of which is carved from a single tree trunk. It must have been one of the first elements to be installed as it would not have been possible to insert this massive support once the tower was built. The tower and the staircase treads were built around this central tree trunk which was then carved out through its centre to create the original hand rail (a 19th century additional handrail was added for practical reasons).

The Manoir originally stood alone surrounded by its own lands and dependent ancillary buildings, some of which still exist in a different form. Over the centuries the land was sold off and the house is now part of a 'terrace' with access to the garden via a charming tunnel through the building.

On the main facade which overlooks the garden the dominant feature is the 16th century 'pepper pot' tower with the original front door access at the base. One of the original medieval stone window frames remains and there is evidence of where others were situated.

The facade changed in the late 18th century when the internal layout was altered and a new set of windows were installed.

The grandest main reception room on the first floor would, as now, have been one room rather like an English great hall of the same period. Temporary wooden partitions were sometimes used to divide the space and evidence of this was found during the renovation of a nearby house, the larger Manoir at Courboyer (which is open to visit).

The oak beamed ceiling would have been visible and there would have been a floor to ceiling fireplace and chimney in stone (evidence of this was confirmed during recent restorations.

The present decoration in the Empire style is a later decorative style and furniture has been chosen to harmonize with this decorative scheme .


Other delighful features include the fireplace in the Hall with its chubby cherubs , the 18th century parquet de chevron flooring, and rich decor in the Rose Salon and the original 18th century stove in the kitchen ( which has now been converted to gas and can be used ).  Outside, by the small river Vougelay at the bottom of the garden, is the old brick basin which was used to fatten up fish for the house, and one can see the old

lavoir/washhouse with its tiled roof, used for clothes washing .


Work on the street facade is being carried out  exposing three different periods of development. The first, where a number of the original stone window frames still exist, an early 18th century phase of embellishment, and then a balancing to a more rigid layout in the later 18th century. All this had then been covered over with two layers of cement for at least the last 100 years as old photographs prove. The facade is being restored in consultation with the French Heritage Government Department .


When Nigel purchased the Manoir, it was from a family who had owned it for nearly 200 years. It was converted into rented apartments towards the end of the last century, then empty for many years, it was in need of a lot of care and attention. Now with the restoration nearly complete, Nigel has opened this Historic House  ( maison Classe ) as ' The Old Manoir Experience ' so that as many people as possible can come and enjoy its unique atmosphere, the rich interiors and experience living and eating and enjoying a step back in time.


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