Tour Historic Shakenhurst Estate in England

Recently, I received an email from Linda (thanks Linda!) with a link to the most amazing home, a large estate in England. The estate dates all the way back to 1349. Shakenhurst Estate is so old, it was mentioned in William the Conqueror’s thousand-year-old Domesday Book!  Shakenhurst Hall, the main residence of the estate, was rebuilt in the late 1700’s.

Historic Shakenhurst Estate Tour


One of the most amazing things about the Shakenhurst Estate is that it has only had two owners. It was owned by the Meysey family from 1349 until the last Meysey passed away in 2008. At that time, her children listed the home for 12 million pounds. It sold to investors who renovated it and put it back on the market for 16 million pounds. How is that for a house flip?

Historic Shakenhurst Estate Tour 01


In addition to Shakenhurst Hall, the 1,324 acre estate includes 15 farmhouses and cottages. Don’t you love this storybook cottage below? I would love to see inside!

Tour 1349 Shakenhurt Estate 10


Shakenhurst Hall has 12 bedrooms and is over 17,000 square feet in size, let’s take a tour!  This is the Reception Hall.

Historic Shakenhurst Estate Tour 02


Historic Shakenhurst Estate Tour 10


The library…

Historic Shakenhurst Estate Tour 13


A large modern kitchen…

Historic Shakenhurst Estate Tour 07


I wonder if that’s a AGA stove/cooker?

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Would love to have seen the dinner parties that must have taken place here.

Historic Shakenhurst Estate Tour 12


One of the 12 bedrooms…seeing lots of wallpaper throughout.

Historic Shakenhurst Estate Tour 08


Bath with a fireplace…

Historic Shakenhurst Estate Tour 03


This was the “Service Panel.” I wonder where it is in the home and how it was used. Do you think each room had a way to summon the staff and this was how the staff knew where they were being requested?

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The billiard room…

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The back of the estate

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I love the views of the property…so pretty!

Tour 1349 Shakenhurt Estate 13


Another home on the estate…would love to see inside! The smaller homes almost intrigue me more than Shakenhurst Hall.

Tour 1349 Shakenhurt Estate 04


I just purchased a book about the “Equestrian” lifestyle…I’ll have to share it sometime for one of our book posts.

Tour 1349 Shakenhurt Estate 12


Wonder what kind of cows these are? Very wooly aren’t they?

Tour 1349 Shakenhurt Estate 02


You can see Shakenhurst off in the distance in this photo below. What a gorgeous estate!

Tour 1349 Shakenhurt Estate 09


Hope you enjoyed this tour of Shakenhurst Estate.

Historic Shakenhurst Estate Tour


You can read more about the Shakenhurst Hall and se additional photos of the other buildings on the estate, HERE where these pictures were found.

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  1. I believe they are Scottish Highland cattle. They are a very hardy breed and beloved by Her Majesty The Queen, who owns and breeds a herd herself. My brother has a small herd up in Coplin Township in Maine, where they thrive in the harsh climate, and keep his family in beef.
    What wonderful photos. I can only imagine living in such a grand style.

  2. This was MAGNIFICENT!!! franki

  3. Margo Kuhn says

    Thanks for sharing. I have always loved looking at estates like this. I enjoyed it very much, although I didn’t care much for the formal dining room wall paper, I loved that huge table and the view. I bet each room did have a way to summon the staff if they needed something, and it was wonderful looking at that old service board. I thought I had high ceilings, but I looked at that kitchen, and unless that shelf that ran across it was much lower than it looked, it appears the ceiling in the kitchen was at least 12 feet high, maybe more. Very nice estate, thanks again for sharing.

    • Margo, I got a kick out of the service board, too. It made me think of Downton Abbey.

    • Donna Ayerst says

      What a shame to see Shakenhurst devoid of its historic features and covered in cheap-looking wallpaper! I was a friend of Rachel and Michael Mesey-Wiggley Severne family back in the ’60s and ’70s and fortunate to spend some glorious weekends at Shakenhurst. Awful to see the library robbed of its original splendor, which included two walls of old, leather-bound books from floor to ceiling. The kitchen had an enormous AGA, and a wooden table in the middle of the room. The entry hall was painted a deep rose red and festooned with portraits of ancestors. Whoever covered those walls with paper should be ashamed. The family had a fantastic collection of antiques of all kinds. I remember eating off of Irish plates that had a well for hot water below to keep the food warm! A collection of miniature boxes were housed in a vitrine table, but unfortunately, were stolen. The bedrooms maintained their Victorian chandeliers. Most of all, so sad that Rachel, Michael and Mandy are gone. They are who I miss most of all.

      • Thanks for sharing how it once looked, Donna. What a wonderful experience that must have been, dining there and spending time with the family.

  4. Belinda Manley says

    The brown long haired cow is a Highland coo(cow) ,Scottish breed.

  5. Linda Page says

    Susan, I think the stove is an AGA….at least it really looks like one. When I first saw it, I immediately thought it was an AGA. I have always wanted an AGA stove. I love the old farm houses the best and really wished there had been pictures of the insides of them. I know they would have been very English cozy and warm. Shakenhurst is really unique but it just has a cold feel inside and there is no landscaping around it either. I thought there was so much more that could have been done to make it more appealing to the eye. Thanks for doing this post. I am glad that you did this post. I am forwarding to a friend that loves England.

    • I watched an old, old video on You Tube of Martha Stewart demonstrating how to cook on an AGA and it really looked pretty awesome for the serious cook. I don’t think I’m a serious enough cook to justify having one. 🙂 It does feel cold inside, I have a feeling no one was actually living there when those pics were taken.

    • K L Chatfield says

      Linda there is far more to the estate than the photos shown here. The gardens are beautiful, theres a walled garden with fruit trees, a vintage greenhouse. That’s just a bit of the Hall. The other cottages have their own features as do the farmhouses.
      I live in one property on the estate, have done for 12 years now.

  6. Charlotte A Orr says

    You have one of the nicest blogs that I have looked. Love your book reviews and have ordered a couple since looking at your site. I know this has to be a lot of work for you but, you must love what you do.

  7. Wow, the renovaters ruined that house. It looks like every other boring track house out there. A house built in the 1300s should have history and character.

  8. Lovely estate! That is Scottish Highland Cattle. We saw a small herd and touch one on our tour of UK last year. Happy Easter Susan!

  9. This is an incredible post! Imagine owning this property, same family, for hundreds of years and it is
    still not only viable but beautiful. I wonder why they chose to use so much wallpaper? I expected much
    formality in the dining room ( which appeared proportionally small for a banquet size table) and think
    the wallpaper hideous. Loved the modern and spacious kitchen with its Aga stove and high ceilings. But
    frankly, given a choice, I would take that Tudor style farmhouse in a heart beat over the main estate. Oh
    the things you could do with it both inside and out. Fabulous! If only we could have had a wee peak inside
    I bet it is a sensationally cozy residence. Thanks for sharing this one of a kind property. Did think the inside
    of Shakenhurst would be more like Downton Abbey. I wonder what the entrance hall looks like? Was really
    not very impressed with the reception hall and would have thought again, would be more formal and ornate.

    • I was surprised how the narrow the dining room was. I love that darling Tudor home on the outside…would love to see inside! Alyce, check out the photos at the site at that link at the end…they had a few more that I didn’t include since the post was getting so long.

  10. I agree that it does not live up to it’s potential. I mean, the history behind it is incredible but whoever bought and redid it took a lot of what was probably interesting out of it and made it look generic. I shouldn’t say anything, considering the hovel I myself live in, but….I was more interested in the smaller places on the land, loved the wooly cows(!)and the green, green countryside! *sigh* I would love to travel to England, Scotland and Ireland. I guess I’m more of a thatched roof cottage kinda gal, although I still drool over that converted mill you showed a while back. THAT was awesome! We have a lot antebellum homes around my neck of the woods, some of them exquisite, but I could never see myself living in one.
    When I was a little girl, many moons ago, we would go visit some elderly relatives who lived in an antebellum home with the huge columns (so big you couldn’t put your arms around them even if you had someone helping you). It was rather run-down but you could see in your mind’s eye what it probably looked like back in it’s heyday. It had a wonderful cast iron fence enclosing the garden full of camellias and magnolias, roses and gardenias…I thought it was what the garden of Eden must have looked like. Yeesh, I was a bookworm and dreamer even then, ha! They would allow me access to the attic where I played, pulling dresses and hats to play dress up with out of old trunks. Gosh, what all must have been up there. Unfortunately, the whole placed burned down I think sometime in the 1970’s. Very sad. Wow, didn’t mean to write a book..

    • Oh, no…can’t believe it burned down! The garden sounds wonderful! Yeah, I’m more the thatched roof cottage type myself…much prefer a cottage over a huge house, especially now that I’m older.

  11. Susan,
    To have socked money in that house and to see this as the end result is a shame! I would much prefer to see it slightly run down inside with aged character than to have it looking “new” and “updated”. Of course we did not see a before picture, however I would think they could have retained more of it’s antique beauty and restored it’s charm and history. That money was not well spent. 😉

    Blessings and Happy Easter!

  12. The first little cottage reminded me of the one used in the movie HOLIDAY. Loved it! I have to agree with others that the decorating and refurbishing left a lot to be desired. I wonder if the different family members lived in the other homes or if they were for the working staff. Love the animals and the views.

  13. i have to agree with several of the above comments…the exterior shots and views are breathtaking but the inside shocked me in how “modern” it felt…it sure didn’t look old inside vs. it’s true age.

  14. Kathy Hammett says

    I like the main house, wallpaper and all. It’s so British! I would love to see all of the smaller home, farmhouses, cottages, etc. There lies the charm, as far as I’m concerned. Lovely post!

  15. Martha in Michigan says

    I must agree with Cresta: that historic estate was restored to within an inch of it’s life. Yes, it looks all neat and clean and move-in ready, but has nothing left to show how old it really is. Even if the family had removed all the furnishings, books, mementoes, etc., I don’t understand why the interiors don’t show evidence of the old building materials and woodwork. It reminds me of a hotel. I thought it was very sad, practically criminal! And another thing, 2014 minus 1349 equals 665 years. Sorry for being picky, picky, picky! I do enjoy your blog, Susan, and read it all the time!
    Martha in Michigan

    • 🙂 Martha, I was just quoting the article where I found the photos. It said, “England’s Shakenhurst Estate, old enough to merit a mention in William the Conqueror’s thousand-year-old “Domesday Book” property survey, just became that most modern of real estate phenomena: a flip.”
      Here’s some information about the Doomesday book which I think was completed in 1086 per Wikipedia:
      I guess they mean the property was mentioned in the book…maybe the estate wasn’t developed yet.

      • Martha in Michigan says

        Yes, Susan, I had checked the site you referred to. When they called it a “thousand year old estate”, I thought they were referring to the house, itself, but maybe they meant the whole property. And I also wondered if the family had been “modernizing” through the centuries and there wasn’t much left to preserve. At any rate, that’s an amazing length of time to have been owned by one family! (At least to North Americans!) Keep up the good work!
        Martha in Michigan

        • Thanks, Martha! I know that was confusing.
          I wondered about that, too…if it had already been somewhat “modernized” over the years. If I ever move into an older home, I’m going to do my best to find one that hasn’t been updated so if I want to make any updates, I can do it in a way that doesn’t take away from the home itself. The one thing that I keep seeing so much these days are the old windows being replaced. In the area where my son and dil just bought a home, many of the beautiful old homes have been left in their original condition except for the windows. When I look at the real estate ads for that area, almost all of them have new windows. I know they are more energy efficient but I sure don’t like how they look.

  16. pam ~ crumpety cottage says

    Hi Susan, the exterior of Shakenhurst reminds me a bit of Felsham Hall (from Lovejoy) especially from the side view. But it’s nothing like it inside, lol. I have never seen such crazy looking cows! How cozy! And yes, that is definitely an AGA. I have one in the exact same color, but mine is a stove, not a cooker, like that one with the watchamacall ’ems for simmering all the time. Anyway, enjoyed the post. Definitely love the English and really ALL of the U.K. stuff. Thanks for posting.

  17. bobbi duncan says

    Thank you, Susan. Boy, they sure knew how to build homes way back when. Europeans laugh that we think our 300 year+ historic homes are old. Wish contractors still took pride in what they build–of course that could also apply to just about anything these days. I love England, and it’s landscape looks very much the same as where I live– I thank God daily for all the beauty He created that we are so blessed to be able to enjoy. From other posts you know I choose the Cotswold cottage on the property. Many of the large estates in England have so little landscaping close to the home, giving it such a cold look, especially in winter. I, too, wish they had left some history inside the home. We’re heading out for Middleburg, VA. in a bit so I probably won’t respond to posts this week, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be thinking of you and hoping you and yours have a wonderful Easter. You said you would enjoy seeing a foxhunt–please know y’all are welcome to come stay with us anytime. Thanksgiving is the really big time for the event, so keep that in mind. Happy Easter to all who visit BNOTP!

    • lol Exactly! Every time I call one of our homes an “historic” home, I always think about that…about how they are babies compared to homes in Europe. I so agree about the pride thing. Houses just get thrown up these days in the Atlanta area…at least many of them do. Thanks, Bobbi! Have a wonderful trip! I didn’t know that about Thanksgiving being the big time of year for that! If you go to one this year, take some pictures…I would love to share them on the blog if possible! Thanks so much for that invite…may take you up on that one year!

      • pam ~ crumpety cottage says

        Susan, our landscape architect is a French man. His accent is still so strong even though he has lived here over 30 years! So cute. Anyway, he told me that growing up, he lived in a house that was over 700 years old! I seriously could not even fathom that. 700 YEARS old?? He said it was an old stone house and that’s just how things were over there. Amazing. Of course, I think my asthma would probably kill me trying to survive the dust and molds that just have to be living in a house that age. Still … *sigh* … it does sound romantic. Speaking of romantic, you should hear his accent … oy …. *fans self.* 😉

  18. Photos from when it sold in 2010.

    Still somewhat “updated” but with a lot more character than now.

  19. I love the estate and all the amazing scenery; however, I agree with most of the comments. Restoration and remodeling are two very different words and it’s a shame the home was remodeled rather than restored. It made me cringe. I sure would enjoy that magnificent view though!

  20. Great History, beautiful countryside. It was nice, but I’d take your home any day over it. I would love to have seen them restore the place. Thanks for all the interesting articles.

  21. I agree that that is 100% an Aga (the old style, with the permanent-temperature ovens; they also have two newer versions, one that looks old-fashioned but has a regular oven that you can set and two smaller ones for broiling and warming, and a “professional-style” one that I personally think looks ridiculous. An Aga should look like an Aga). I’ve been shopping for a stove for months now – I can identify most of the major brands from just a sliver in a photograph. It’s a sickness.

    I am besottedly in love (since we’re in England and all) with that little brick cottage. I assume that the other dwellings on the estate are rented to long-term tenants. Probably that one is inhabited, but in case it isn’t, I need to find some way to go on 100% telework and live there forever and ever, amen. It doesn’t even look like that lane is meant for cars. So presumably I could need to learn to ride a horse. I’m sure that won’t be a problem.

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I will dream all afternoon of life in an overgrown brick cottage :).

    • lol I know, I felt the same way about the cottages, like those more than the estate home. Would love to see inside the brick cottage. Okay, let’s both move there and learn to ride horses, I’m game if you are! 😉

  22. Deonna Bundrick says

    I wish I could have seen it before it was renovated!!! The SAME family…. all those years! What a shame to sell. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Estate! Gorgeous…

  23. My partner’s grandmother says she was moved to Cleobury Mortimer during the first world war and thinks she stayed in Shakenhurst.

    She’s up in Shropshire in July and is keen to go and visit to see if it jogs any memories, but wasn’t sure how to find it.

    She said “I remember Shakenhurst as being on the top of a hill, probably Georgian with thousands of servants rooms round the top floor where we slept. There were bathrooms but think they must have gone in later than the house was built. We were only allowed a bath three times a week and no more than five inches of water. I’m totally hazy about what was near as far as buildings are concerned but think it was the pub at Neen Sollars that we went to for the Head Mistresses Birthday.”

    I can’t seem to find any record of Shakenhurst taking in evacuees during the war – does anyone know anything about it?

    Also a long shot, but she’s really keen to visit the grounds (possibly her last chance to do so). Does anyone know if this is doable? Are there public footpaths or is it all private land?

    Thank you in advance!

  24. Jane Herasimenko says

    I question that Shankenhurst remained in the hands of one family? I have an ancestor, William Carden Roe; a physician. William was born in Ireland, at Loren Park, Rosecrea, County Tipperary. He served with the Royal Army attaining the rank of Brigadier Surgeon; in both the Crimea and the mutiny….and retired in 1880. In legal documents published after his death it clearly states he was of Loren Park, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary Ireland and of “Shackenhurst” West Overcliff Dr. in the County Borough of Bournemouth. Is there any information about a Roe living there?

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