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Dream properties - The Manor House, Prestbury

PUBLISHED: 19:29 01 December 2015

A view of The Manor House from the exquisite gardens

A view of The Manor House from the exquisite gardens

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One of the area’s most significant homes is on the market. Emma Mayoh went along to find out more

The Manor House in Prestbury wasn’t Anthea Brough’s first choice of home. Her sights had been set on a dream property in Sutton. But after being gazumped, Anthea and husband Peter, and their four young children, had to start looking again.

‘I didn’t want to look at the place in Prestbury,’ explained Anthea. ‘My heart was still in the Sutton house. But I was driving around Cheshire with my four children trying to find somewhere to live.

‘We’d been living in Pott Shrigley in a tiny cottage with a big family. We needed a house. After losing that property in Sutton I vowed I would never fall in love with a house again. But I stepped into this house and it was the most amazing thing. It really was the most perfect family house. It had everything you could want. It was hard losing the other house but I believe it was fate.’

Since then Anthea, 69, and Peter, 71, have been devoted to The Manor House. They have carried out renovations over the past three decades, completed work on the garden and created a lovely family home for their children Joe, Jim, Jack and Amy. But what Anthea and Peter have been unswerving about is their commitment to preserving the house for future generations.

‘This is an important building in the village,’ Peter said. ‘It is a listed building and we have a duty to look after it. We have a conservation officer who we have worked with over the years because we want to preserve this wonderful building

‘It is so important. We uncovered some things that had been boxed in and to find parts of the house like that was wonderful. There would once have been servants here and it was just another world. It’s like the setting for a period drama you would see on television. It is a wonderful house.

‘The beautifully carved staircase was painted white when we moved in. We wanted to take it back to its original beauty. It was a painstaking job but very much worth it.’

The Manor House has not only been important to the Brough family, it forms an integral part of Prestbury’s history. The property dates back to 1708 when it was built as the vicarage for St Peter’s Church across the road. However, the house was built on older foundations and it is thought it was once the site of the cells of the Monks of St Werburgh and it was where they lived.

During Anthea and Peter’s renovations they discovered intriguing features including the mechanics of an original dumbwaiter and wires that would have controlled the bell pulley system which the owners would have used to alert the servants. They also discovered original Victorian plans left behind when they moved in. The Broughs framed them and they are now displayed proudly on a wall. They also completed the original walls that surround the house. The couple have heard several anecdotes from fellow villagers who remember the house in days gone by.

‘It was once lived in by a dentist,’ explained Peter, 71. ‘It was towards the back of the house and we removed the frosted glass that used to be in the waiting room. There are people who have told us they remember coming here. It’s nice to hear.’

The original features and old stories are not the only talking point. Anthea and Peter, originally from The Potteries, have created a beautiful outdoor space in the gardens with a rose garden, a herb garden and a manicured lawn. They have a stream running along the bottom of the garden which is only enjoyed by their many grandchildren, and is also a haven for wildlife. They have spotted herons down by the water,

The couple also have a vast collections of art, antiques, furniture and china. On their walls family pictures sit alongside original works of art containing images of where they grew up, the south of France, where they have their own home as well as many other genres. They also have an old map collection and Victorian furniture including antique cots, on display in the rooms. But their favourite collection is their china pieces. It is, again, part of their commitment to the future.

Although Anthea and Peter are disappointed to be leaving the house behind, they are now hoping to find their next ideal property in Prestbury.

Anthea said: ‘For us, it’s about preserving things for the next generation. We collect these beautiful old things and it is our duty to protect them for another generation.

‘It is the same with the house. The person who buys The Manor House has to be someone who loves history. It’s part of the fabric of this house.’

‘Of course we’re upset about leaving but it just has to go onto someone else who will look after it. This is a family house and we dearly want for another family to enjoy living here as much as we have.’ w

The Manor House is for sale, price on application, with Gascoigne Halman. For full details contact 01625 909030.

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