Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Anyone Have $6 Million to Spare? Historic Real Estate in England

From The Daily Mail online, some prime English real estate is for sale:

A 500-year-old Tudor mansion boasting a 100ft great hall, three priest holes and its own ghost is for sale for £4.75million.

Sawston Hall, described as the finest private house in Cambridgeshire, has five ensuite bedrooms, a moat, and an arboretum with rare trees, but its real draw is its history.

Owned by a grand Roman Catholic family for centuries, the Hall has secret places where outlawed Catholic priests could hide when the terrifying priest-hunters came to call during the Reformation.

Feared by Catholics who continued to practise their religion even after it was made illegal, priest-hunters would arrive with skilled carpenters who would spend up to a week ripping out panelling and pulling up floorboards looking for priests.

Sawston Hall, which was one of the famous Catholic safehouses in the reign of Elizabeth 1, has three such holes hidden in the fabric of the stone, Grade I-listed mansion. One of them, hidden within a stone turret housing a spiral staircase, was created by master carpenter Nicholas Owen, and is said by experts to be the finest example of a priest's hole in the country.

Owen, who died under torture in the Tower of London in 1606, was later canonised for his role in ensuring the future of British Catholicism, and his work in creating spaces where priests could escape capture played a key role in English Catholic history.

The article includes many pictures, so you know what you're paying for: beauty, history, priest holes, and all--including a modern kitchen! Fortunately, the article notes that there's an effort to make it available to the public, for the sake of Catholic history:

A campaign to raise the money to buy the house and open it for future generations has been launched by historians and is backed by leading Catholics including Ann Widdecombe and Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, the former Archbishop of Westminster.

Read the rest here.

A martyred saint labored in the house: St. Nicholas Owen, pray for us! You might recall that after torturing St. Nicholas Owen to death, James I's officials claimed that he had committed suicide.

No comments:

Post a Comment