The name John Profumo has become synonymous with a striking period property – Cliveden, the Italianate mansion and estate at Taplow, Buckinghamshire.
Profumo, the MP for Stratford-upon-Avon , and his wife, the actress Valerie Hobson, were staying there as guests of the owner, Bill Astor, the 3rd Viscount Astor, when he encountered aspiring model/call girl Christine Keeler, who had been staying in a cottage on the estate rented by Stephen Ward.
Profumo and Keeler had a brief affair. However, the fact she also bedded a Soviet intelligence officer and Profumo was, at the time, Secretary of State for War resulted in a scandal that led to his resignation in 1963.
Prime Minister Harold Macmillan quit on health grounds and, its reputation tainted by it all, the Conservative party was defeated at the next election.
As his political career crashed about his ears, it was not to Cliveden that Profumo retreated but to his home, Avon Carrow in Avon Dassett, near Southam in Warwickshire.
It had been the family home since his father purchased it in the 1920s.
When the press descended on the village, Profumo escaped from them via another property, The Limes.
Avon Carrow was sold in the late 60s, as Profumo and his wife based themselves in London and he redeemed himself through 40 years of charitable works.
The property had been built by Cecil Boyle as a hunting lodge and was completed in 1896.
His wife liked it so much that it was adapted to become their main residence.
Since 1983 it has been divided up into separate luxury homes.
The exterior of the Victorian building has been protected by its Grade II listing. It is built of deep Hornton ironstone under a tiled roof with detailed carved stonework, moulded gable parapets and mullion windows.
The Tower, arguably the most striking part of the building and certainly the tallest, is currently for sale.
It would certainly make a very special home with its wealth of period features, including ornate stone carvings, stained glass windows, a Juliet balcony and turreted staircases with arrow windows.
The sizeable accommodation is spread over four floors. The reception hall is entered through the large stone built archway with solid oak doors into the drawing room.
This spectacular space has 25ft high ceilings, a huge fireplace housing a Dovre multi fuel wood burner, oak panelling and exposed stone throughout. A magnificent 20 pane mullion window is the focal point and offers an elevated view across the lawns.
A sweeping curved staircase leads up to the first floor kitchen with hand-built cupboards and DeDitrix, Neff and Bosch appliances.
A galleried dining room overlooks the drawing room, creating a perfect dinner party setting.
On the second floor the large master bedroom has a window seat and far reaching views over the Carrow grounds and historic Edgehill.
There is a family bathroom with a free standing cast iron roll top bath. A further double bedroom – currently used as a study – has fitted wardrobes and stained glass bay window overlooking the central courtyard.
Spiral stairs with exposed brickwork leads up to the third floor where there are two large double bedrooms, one with feature stained glass window, and a further bathroom.
The staircase continues up to the roof terrace which offers views over the three counties of Warwickshire, Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire.
This roof terrace is extremely private and an idyllic place to enjoy a glass of wine on a summer’s evening.
A gravel driveway winds its way through the parkland and continues to the parking area past the garage complex. A gravelled front courtyard centred around a formal garden is shared with the neighbouring properties.
To the back of The Tower is a large raised terrace with formal rose flowerbeds.
There are communal gardens which extend to approximately seven acres.
They are well kept and include a wide avenue of chestnut trees, a tennis court with pavilion and lawns for croquet and bowls.
Avon Carrow is situated on the southern edge of Avon Dassett. A small Conservation village, it is located midway between Leamington Spa and Banbury and is within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It has a pub and a church. The villages of Warmington, Fenny Compton and Farnborough are within a mile and provide facilities for day to day needs.
Banbury has a more extensive range of shops, restaurants and amenities. It also has a train service to London.
The M40 offers access to London and Birmingham and there is a train station at Banbury.
There is a good selection of state, private and grammar schools in the area
Local sporting and leisure facilities include the Warwickshire Hunt, racing at Towcester, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick and Cheltenham, and golf at Tadmarton, Brailes and Stratford. There is a shooting range at Edgehill.
AGENT: Knight Frank
TEL: 01789 297735
GUIDE PRICE: £750,000