Owners put 17th century manor house's £30,000 contents up for sale

Now that’s downsizing! Owners put 17th century manor house’s £30,000 contents up for sale including Regency piano and George II corner chair as they move to smaller home

  • Manor House, in West Stafford, Dorset, boasts Downton Abbey creator Lord Julian Fellowes as a neighbour 
  • The 17th-century Grade I listed property sits in 20 acres of land and was snapped up for £2.95million this year 
  • Retired IT consultant Ken Ollerton, 72, and his wife Jane have now consigned 107 lots with auctioneers Duke’s

The £30,000 contents of a country manor house that boasts Downton Abbey creator Lord Julian Fellowes as a neighbour have been put up for sale.  

The owners of Manor House, in West Stafford, Dorset, have sold their home of 25 years as they are downsizing and are now looking to offload its historic furniture and ornaments.

The 17th century Grade I listed property, which sits in 20 acres of land, had been on the market for £2.95million before being snapped up earlier this year.

Retired IT consultant Ken Ollerton, 72, and his wife Jane have now consigned 107 lots with auctioneers Duke’s, of nearby Dorchester, Dorset, with the sale expected to raise £30,000.

The £30,000 contents of a country manor house that boasts Downton Abbey creator Lord Julian Fellowes as a neighbour have been put up for sale. Pictured: A Regency-era piano which has resided in the main hall and has been valued at £8,000

The owners of Manor House, in West Stafford, Dorset, have sold their home of 25 years as they are downsizing and are now looking to offload its historic furniture and ornaments. Pictured: The guest bedroom showcases the bed, wardrobe and dressing table that form part of the sale

The 17th century Grade I listed property, which sits in 20 acres of land, had been on the market for £2.95million before being snapped up earlier this year. Pictured is the spectacular view from the guest bedroom which overlooks some of the 20 acres of land the house is situated in

Retired IT consultant Ken Ollerton, 72, and his wife Jane have now consigned 107 lots with auctioneers Duke’s, of nearby Dorchester, Dorset, with the sale expected to raise £30,000. Pictured is the exterior of the house which is flanked by two rectangular ponds


Antique George II dining chairs that are in good condition can fetch up to £3,000 in auctions. The couple have decided to sell most of their furniture that they won’t be able to fit in their new, smaller home. Pictured: Left, George II style Mahogany chair. Right, George II red walnut corner chair which is valued at £2,000

Senan MacDonagh of Dukes Auctioneers with a Guy Taplin waterbird sculpture, which can be sold from anywhere between £500 to thousands, that will feature in the sale. This one has been valued at up to £1,000. Taplin is one of the most celebrated international artists in the world of making wooden bird sculptures

Senan MacDonagh of Dukes with the Regency-era piano which has resided in the main hall which is valued at £8,000. During the Regency era (between 1811 and 1820), England was the center of pianoforte manufacturing

A late George III-style Mahogany window seat covered in an ornately embroidered cream silk covering is expected to sell for about £400 at the auction. The timed online sale ends on January 24

One of the marquee lots is a Regency-era piano, valued at £8,000, which resides in the main hall. 

A George II red walnut corner chair is expected to fetch £2,000, while a George III-style mahogany window seat and Charles II boarded coffer both carry estimates of £400.

A Guy Taplin waterbird sculpture could sell for £1,000, with the lower value items in the auction starting at £100.

Senan MacDonagh, specialist at Duke’s, said: ‘The owners, a retired couple, have sold the property which they have lived in for 25 years as they are downsizing.

‘There is some historic, high-quality furniture and the George II red walnut chair is quite unusual.

Senan MacDonagh of Dukes Auctioneers with a Regency giltwood overmantel mirror. Similar mirrors can sell for up to £3,750 if they still have their original water gilding and the mirror plate is the original mercury plate with some historic ageing to the glass


Senan MacDonagh, specialist at Duke’s, said: ‘The owners, a retired couple, have sold the property which they have lived in for 25 years as they are downsizing.’ Left: A set of Regency style yew-wood Library steps which can sell for hundreds of pounds. Right: A Regency Rosewood folding card table which can fetch up to £4,000 in auction 

He added: ‘There is some historic, high-quality furniture and the George II red walnut chair is quite unusual. The lovely Regency piano has had pride of place in the main hall and another stand-out is the Guy Taplin waterbird sculpture.’ The drawing room showcases sofa’s and tables that are part of the sale

West Stafford is in the heart of Thomas Hardy country and close to the author’s birthplace. Pictured is the house’s lavish dining room which features a large dining table and patterned chairs which clash with the bright green draped curtains adorned with a multitude of flowers 

It is just mile from the village of Bockhampton which Hardy called Talbothayes in his novels. St Michael’s, the local church of Stinsford (the parish that Bockhampton is in) was the local church of Thomas Hardy and he was baptised here

‘The lovely Regency piano has had pride of place in the main hall and another stand-out is the Guy Taplin waterbird sculpture.

‘There are some wonderful pieces in the auction.’

West Stafford is in the heart of Thomas Hardy country and close to the author’s birthplace.

It is just mile from the village of Bockhampton which Hardy called Talbothayes in his novels. 

Stinsford is the original ‘Mellstock’ of Hardy’s novels Under the Greenwood Tree and Jude the Obscure. Pictured is the grand winding staircase in the home that features grey carpets to compliment the light yellow paint on the walls 

Also on sale from the home is a Charles II boarded coffer (pictured) which has been estimated to have a value of £400. It features intricate carving work and a very old lock to keep the contents of the coffer safe. A coffer is traditionally used as a strongbox or safe to keep valuables locked away

Fellowes’ Stafford House, which lies to the north of the main body of the village, is mentioned in Hardy’s 1887 story The Waiting Supper, about the love between a squire’s daughter and a yeoman farmer who meet in secret by a waterfall in the grounds. Pictured is the guest bedroom, which showcases the bed, wardrobe and dressing table that form part of the sale. The timed online sale ends on January 24

Mr MacDonagh added: ‘The 15th century St Andrew’s Church in Bockhampton was the setting for the wedding of Tess and Angel Clare in Tess of the D’Urbevilles (1892).’ Pictured is the back of Manor House and a glimpse of its sophisticated gardens 

‘The 15th century St Andrew’s Church in Bockhampton was the setting for the wedding of Tess and Angel Clare in Tess of the D’Urbevilles (1892).

The church is often visited by tourists for its Hardy connection and the ‘three bells of Talbothayes’ usually chime for the 10am services.

Fellowes’ Stafford House, which lies to the north of the main body of the village, is mentioned in Hardy’s 1887 story The Waiting Supper, about the love between a squire’s daughter and a yeoman farmer who meet in secret by a waterfall in the grounds.

The timed online sale ends on January 24.

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