Househunters are being offered a unique slice of British history after the home owned by the man at the centre of one of the 20th century’s biggest political scandals was put up for sale.

John Profumo, the minister whose infamous affair brought down the Macmillan government, fled from the press to Avon Carrow, his family home in Stratford-on-Avon, after the scandal broke.

The then Secretary of State for War resigned in disgrace in 1963 when it emerged he had slept with 19-year-old model Christine Keeler, unaware she was also sleeping with Yevgeny Ivanov, a naval attaché at the Soviet Embassy and reportedly a spy.

 

The scandal saw the rural town of Avon Dassett inundated with journalists and became the latest twist in the home’s fascinating history.

The Grade II-listed property, which was built by a legendary British war hero who played both international rugby union for England and first-class cricket, has now been split into three homes.

The central one, known as The Tower, has now been put on the market for £750,000.

Owner Mark Harries told the Post he and his wife Kelly were selling up to move closer to Oxford but potential buyers were could bag an historic gem.

“There is so much history here, and with all the ornate carvings and exposed bricks, you still feel like you are part of that history,” he said.

“You almost feel like a custodian and it seems like we should give someone else the opportunity.

He added: “The Profumos were here for getting on for 50 years. They were still here when the scandal broke in 1963 and it was here where John Profumo came running to.

“The stories go that the press were all over the village – trying to get villagers to feed them information on where he was – and eventually he fled.

“Last year was the 50th anniversary, so maybe that would have been the right time to move.”

The estate of Avon Carrow was sold to the Fourth Baron Profumo, father of John Profumo, in the 1920s.

Its moment of infamy would come decades later and villagers still tell stories of the press besieging Dassett and bribing villagers for comments and gossip before Profumo reputedly escaped through the grounds to hide away with a friend in Radway.

Mr Harries, aged 42, a barrister, said while the link to the Profumos added an air of intrigue to the property, its builder was a unique man.

Cecil Boyle, one of the few men to play both first class rugby and cricket, built the home in 1896 and ended up living there – and Mr Harries said his influence is still evident.

Cecil William Boyle: an incredible life which led him to Warwickshire  

He said: “Cecil Boyle was renowned in this area and there are links in the building itself to his time here.

“There is a Juliet balcony where he used to stand and have horses paraded for him and he’d choose which he wanted for the day for the Warwickshire Hunt.

Boyle is commemorated by a stained glass etched window in the of the property, which was turned into a recreation mess for US servicemen during the Second World War.

“We have twice had very elderly curious Americans wander in through the front door to see if things were still as they remembered, not realising that this is now our private home,” Mr Harries added.

It was split into three homes in 1983 and Mr Harries has lived there for the past five years.

There are also plaques commemorating the lives of Cecil Boyle and the Profumo family in St John’s Church.

Jo Holdback from Knight Frank, which is marketing the four bedroom property, said its interesting history was likely to be a draw.

She said: “We have had quite a lot of enquiries about it. Because it is something a bit different it is not going to be for everyone but for those who are interested they tend to like that it has a bit of history about it.

“People also like the idea of owning part of a stately home, especially the tower.”