An Elizabethan & Jacobean Improprietor's House

Reputedly the oldest house in the Vale of Belvoir

The Old Manor House, opposite the Parish Church, is a 400 year old mullioned stone house, built by Sir Edward Hastings and his son Sir Henry as Improprietor of the Great Tithes of Claxton. A description in The King's England as "homely and stately among the trees," masked years of genteel neglect that had allowed the house, which is listed Grade II* by English Heritage, both to retain a huge amount of history but also to slip onto the "at risk" register. During conservation over the last 20 years many interesting features have been uncovered: wig cupboards, Elizabethan fireplaces, a long gallery, 17th and 18th century signatures, even a love poem scratched into the plaster work. The house also retains some of the dairy fixtures from Victorian times when prize-winning Stilton cheese was made here, and it remains a working farmhouse.

Research and restoration went hand in hand, and met with general approval and the odd award. We lead tours of the house on periodic open days and have hosted the Fellows of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and several local history groups. Now, for the second time in history, the house is the home of the resident priest or parson for the village.

The large orchard behind contains one of the manorial fish ponds, frequented by mallards, coots, moorhens, Greylag geese and swans, all of which have nested here over recent years. Newts, frogs and a shoal of goldfish can often be seen, when they are not hiding from the local heron. Fortunate visitors might catch a glimpse of a kingfisher. Gardens have been laid out in keeping with the Jacobean style of the house. Cobble paths have been revealed, York flagstone walkways laid, and traditional mud walls have been rebuilt around the perimeter. The latest addition is a green oak, daub and thatched summerhouse.