Tudor mansion for sale for £2.5m with link to magical Christmas tale

Picture of manor house

Ashwellthorpe Hall. - Credit: Sowerbys

They do say mighty oaks grow from little acorns.

Well, it caused a bit of a stir when a 'magic' oak tree grew at this Elizabethan stately home.

Ashwellthorpe Hall, an eight bedroom property situated in 18 acres of partly moated grounds, has an unusual legend attached to it.

The property, which dates to the Tudor times with later additions in the 19th century, was built for a Sir Thomas Knyvett, fourth Baron Berners, often confused with Sir Thomas Knyvet, 1st Baron Knyvet, an MP who was involved in saving the Houses of Parliament from Guy Fawkes' gunpowder plot.

Picture of Tudor man in ruffle

Sir Thomas Kynvett who once owned Ashwellthorpe Hall. - Credit: Archant library

Sir Thomas the fourth was the High Sheriff of Norfolk and in his position hosted many important guests from London.


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Legend has it that one particular guest from the big smoke arrived and pulled out an acorn, telling the other guests that it was magic, harvested from a magic oak tree.

He set it in the Grand Hall of Ashwellthorpe Hall, stood back as an oak tree shot up filling the space with branches and more acorns.

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As gifts go, it was not one that Sir Thomas appreciated, especially as dinner was about to be served and they needed space to lay the table.

So the host ordered his servants to cut down the tree, but when the branches lay on the floor of the hall, no one could move them, they were so heavy.

More magic was summoned, the legend continues, and a brace of goslings appeared and carried away the logs, dragging them outside.

When the guests looked to see where the branches had been taken, they discovered that they had vanished entirely.

As the 'Ballad of Ashwell Thorp' notes: 'not a chip then could be found'. Many people say this is why the hall had geese on its moat for years afterwards.

Picture of manor house taken from sky

Ashwellthorpe Hall, now for sale. - Credit: Sowerbys

Sir Thomas was buried at Ashwellthorpe after his death in February 1616. It is not known whether his coffin was made of oak.

The house for sale with Sowerbys has a formal drawing room, a dining room billiard room, library and family room as well as its own chapel and outside, a stable block and a two storey coach house.

The grounds have a lake, meadow, orchard and an ice house.

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