If you missed out last year on the listing of the “Godfather House” on Staten Island in New York, maybe this home is more up your abbey—er, alley.
Byfleet Manor, in Surrey, just southwest of London, and dower home to Maggie Smith’s character Lady Violet Crawley in the PBS series “Downton Abbey,” is on the market, according to real estate broker Savills. The price? £3.95 million,or $ 6.1 million. The Georgian-style brick home, built in 1686 and set on 19 acres, has a walled courtyard, eight bedrooms and four reception rooms—and it’s just 20 miles from central London.
“You get a lot of house for your money,” said Simon Ashwell, the Savills agent who is listing the home for Julie Hutton, the current owner, who bought Byfleet Manor about 10 years ago for £1 million.
Byfleet Manor isn’t one to avoid the cameras. The house also starred in the series “Poirot” and “Cranford” and was the stand-in for Cinderella’s home in the 2014 movie “Into the Woods” with Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp. When it comes to “Downton Abbey,” the home has served as Lady Violet’s house since 2010 after the location agent from the PBS series “Cranford” suggested it to the show’s producers. “We wanted to deliberately pull Violet back into that Georgian world,” Donal Woods, the production designer for “Downton Abbey,” told Savills.
The house is just one of several properties for sale in the past year that have been backdrops for famous movies and TV shows.
In October 2014, the famed Waldorf-Astoria hotel in Manhattan, home to more than two dozen Hollywood films, including “Scent of a Woman” and Neil Simon’s “Out of Towners,” sold to a Chinese insurance company for $ 1.95 billion.
Last November, the Staten Island English Tudor–style mansion used in the “The Godfather” as the Corleone crime family compound, went on sale for $ 2.9 million.
The history of Byfleet Manor actually extends back as far as the 7th century and was recorded in 1086. The Manor of Byfleet was then owned by the royal family for more than 300 years, with King Edward I and Edward II having stayed at Byfleet and Henry VIII having spent several years of his childhood there. Queen Elizabeth I was known to have visited in 1576, Savills said.
The last royal owner was the Queen Consort Anne of Denmark, wife of King James I. It was later used as a training camp during World War II for Canadian troops who set up an assault course in the garden, said Ashwell, who in 2011 listed another famous (or infamous) house in Surrey used in the movies, the Pyrford Court mansion, from the 1976 film “The Omen,” starring Gregory Peck.
Ashwell said that despite the Byfleet home’s history he’s hoping to find a purchaser who needs a residence to support a growing flock of “Crawleys,” though he’s expecting international interest because of the home’s film pedigree. “This house will appeal to families, but somebody may just buy this house to be a trophy, just because they can.”