Maunsel House, nr Taunton
Muddy says – Somerset has many old manor houses in which to hold a wedding, party or special event but none as spectacular – or eccentric – as the 13th century Maunsel House
The house, set in 100 acres of parkland in the middle of a 2,000-acre estate in North Newton near Taunton, is the ancestral home of Sir Ben Slade. Surely the only Baronet in England who’s worked as a jackeroo on an Australian sheep station?
Dating back to the 9th century, King Alfred the Great was the first in a line of illustrious visitors who include assorted Kings, Queens and Geoffrey Chaucer, author of the Canterbury Tales (the real wife of Bath got married in a church on the estate).
It’s large and rambling with a warren of stunning rooms, including a Victorian Gothic library with suits of armour and a stuffed bear, a bar room covered with 85 antique guns and fairy tale bedrooms with sumptuous 4-poster beds. There are secret passageways, hidden staircases and, dotted around, a collection of 200 hats. I said it was eccentric.
You can say ‘I do’ under a chandelier in the Regency ballroom, in the library, outside under the bandstand or roofed pergola or in a choice of two churches. Receptions are held in all of the above plus the dining room and bar. And it looks like a banging house for a huge party.
Oops, nearly forgot to mention the grounds: croquet on the lawns, a lake, miniature Shetland ponies and peacocks. I reckon this a place to indulge your fantasies.