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A history carved in wood; The rich heritage of Oakhampton House Estate can be seen by all thanks to a series of reliefs incorporated into the property. On sale for the first time, this is a unique opportunity to purchase this fine property writes Alison Jones.

Byline: Alison Jones

To discover who the previous owners of Oakhampton House Estate at Dunley in Worces-through musty old deeds, the evidence is right there, carved into the walls.

Making the detective work even simpler is the estate's long links with the Crane family.

Since 1463 they have been Lords of the Manor of High and Low Habberley.

The Crane family were Royalists. In 1642 Sir Richard Crane was knighted on the bat-associated with James I and Charles I.

Woodville, Queen of King Edward IV, mother of the two Princes in the tower, Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury. She was also grandmother to Henry VIII.

Oakhampton House stands on the site of an ancient settlement. The estate was bought in 1827 by Henry Crane who built the present house a year later.

In the 1840s he took the opportunity to update the property when he married Jane Miriam Havergal.

She is the daughter of hymn writer Wil-liam Henry Havergal. Her sister was Frances Ridley Havergal, another famous hymn writer and both their portraits hang in the dining room.

As a wedding present William Henry presented the couple with a wellingtonia, one of the earliest in the country, which is planted in the park.

Major John Henry Crane, who was High Sheriff of Worcestershire in 1888, wed Annie Georgina Washington-Turner in the 1870s, after they met at Shanklin on the Isle of White and enjoyed a whirlwind romance.

The Crane family were disapproving, in spite of her impeccable background.

-dent, George Washington, and her father was the Attorney General of the state of Missisippi.

In 1883 the couple commissioned JP St Aubyn to design and oversee an extensive programme of modernisation at Oakhampton at the same time that he was building a clock tower at Abberely.

The gable of the new wing and the carved woodwork inside were adorned with the coat of arms of Crane and Washington Turner.

The carved woodwork was done by Forsyth, who was responsible for similar work at Witley Court for the Earl of Dudley and at Balmoral for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

They had two children, Captain John Henry Godfrey Crane, who sadly died of Blackwater fever at Accra on the Gold Coast, and Joyce Marrianne Poyntel Crane, great grandmother of the present Lord of the Manor of Habberley.

Sadly the Crane marriage did not last.

War, Annie converted to Roman Catholicism, built a chapel in the grounds and installed a priest.

When he discovered this upon his return, the furious major had the chapel knocked down, the priest thrown out and his marriage dissolved.

He died at Oakhampton in 1932. Annie survived him by 14 years, dying in Geneva.

Oakhampton House has never been on the open market before.

The Grade II listed building is a clean classic design, with decorative splashes made by the carvings of the Crane family crest and coat of arms beneath the gables. There is also a pretty wrought iron verandah at the back of the house.

The interior is more ornate than the exte-This shows the wedding present wellingtonia and a cedar of Lebanon from the park as well as themes from the family's sporting life.

The library, sitting room and dining room all have south facing shuttered sash windows Dramatic panelling in the drawing room was introduced from a Flemish chateau.

There is also a timber framed orangery that has been nicknamed Crystal Palace.

The kitchen is complete with Aga and there is a butler's pantry, laundry and estate The striking staircase has a galleried landing with a period skylight.

There are 11 bedrooms on the top two Mulberry Room and Rose Room. They mostly have have shuttered sash windows, There are two bathrooms, the principal one with roll top bath, shower enclosure and Victorian style wash hand basin.

Additonal house space is provided by cellars and also the rooms in the attic, which could be put to a variety of uses, subject to planning permission.

In the grounds there is Laundry Cottage which has been modernised to provide a pleasant two bedroom house. Outside there are stallion boxes with Victorian stalls and mangers, a coach house and garaging.

Perry House is a period outbuilding in need of refurbishment.

The gravelled tree lined drive continues round a large circular lawn, with mature oak trees. There are also well tended rose beds.

A box parterre in the grounds was laid out for the gardens at Witley Court for the Earl of Dudley and Eaton Hall for the Duke of Westminster.

The large timber framed vinery is complete with rare Regency ironwork arcade in the Rococo Gothic style. The mature Black Hamburg vines were mostly planted in Victorian times by Major John Crane. Further vines were planted by the grandfather of the present owner in the 1940s.

A kitchen garden has soft fruit canes, boxed and asparagus beds.

Beyond an ancient ha ha there is 27 acres of park with oak, walnut, beech, sweet chestnut, weeping ash and conifers.

The present owner has planted a double avenue of oaks along the driveway in memory of his grandfather.

A circle of yews to the south of the is thought to be a thousand year old yew in the garden.

Adjacent to the main drive is an arboretum planted in the 1960s on the garden site of the old house. Created at the same time was the 23 acre Sytch Coppice. With a wildlife pond and well managed woodland, also 12 acres of mature pasture.

Oakhampton House Estate comes with 65 acres of land. The adjacent Hocken barns may be available by separate negotiation.

It has a guide price of pounds 2,250,000 and is being sold by Andrew Grant Country Homes. For more details call 01905 734735.


The rich history of Oakhampton House can be traced through the wood carvings
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 22, 2010
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