Historic Kingston manor house goes on market for £4 million

One of the oldest continuously occupied homes in Dorset has been put on the market for almost £4 million, and comes with a view that is absolutely priceless.

Scoles Manor in Kingston near Corfe Castle was built in the first years of the 17th century, but includes a medieval chapel which has been dated to 1210 and is now in use as a stunning living room.


An aerial view of Scoles Manor and holiday lets, set in 27 acres of pasture with its own bluebell wood

Amazing views to Corfe Castle

The property, set in 27 acres of countryside and with breathtaking views across to Corfe Castle, comes with four holiday lets.

The holiday accommodation was created about 35 years ago by restoring a number of disused barns – some of the first barn conversions in Dorset.

Owners Peter and Belinda Bell moved to the manor from Bournemouth in 1988 and are now looking to move into the single storey Dairy House – one of the holiday lets.

Ideally, they are seeking a lifetime tenancy there under the new owners, to continue to enjoy the estate which holds so many wonderful memories for them.

Liz Spicer-Short in the main entrance of her family home at Kingston

The dining room fireplace, when opened up, was found to have an original bread oven in the wall

Fireplace with original bread oven

Daughter Liz Spicer-Short said:

“My parents absolutely love Purbeck. Dad used to work for Abbey Life, who moved their headquarters to Bournemouth in 1976 and moved us down with them as a family.

“Dad fell in love with Scoles Manor when he saw a black and white photo taken from the gate in the Daily Echo about 10 years later.

“It was dad’s 50th birthday party – the house we lived in had an incredibly retro Abigail’s Party sunken lounge with green velveteen sofas and onyx lamps, and dad was showing everyone this picture and saying it was our new house.

“We didn’t even know we were moving, but we have had such a wonderful life here since! There have been unforgettable family meals in front of the huge fireplace with its original bread oven which mum and dad uncovered, then found its original door in the log shed.”


A chapel dating back to 1210 was converted to a sitting room by Peter Bell, opening up the vaulted roof

Although some new windows were added during renovation, the original arched windows still exist

Chapel was dated back to 1210

Liz added:

“We have had wonderful parties in the grounds over the years with children running around, and Christmas celebrations in front of a fireplace with a chimney big enough for Father Christmas to come down.

“The oldest part of the building is the medieval chapel which mum and dad sympathetically converted into a fantastic sitting room – underneath the suspended floor there are cobbles, we have exposed stone walls, a vaulted ceiling and a large window with amazing views out to Corfe Castle!

“The assessment was that the chapel dated back to 1210, but whether it was 1210 in its original position or whether it was stolen and brought here later is unknown. There’s an awful lot of Corfe Castle that is spread around the village!”

Bee boles or leper holes? A fascinating feature of the centuries-old building

The traditional kitchen includes a range cooker and a window seat in the thick stone walls

Outside wall with rare bee boles

The manor house is a Grade Two Star listed building, an historic former farmhouse with Purbeck stone walls and a stone slate roof, and with countless period features including a curved stone staircase to the first floor and flagstone floors and a gabled porch.

One outside wall incorporates rarely seen bee boles, either medieval spaces for bee hives or receptacles where food was placed for passing lepers.

This theory gained weight during Covid when family members would leave groceries and newspapers for Peter and Belinda while no socialising was allowed.

On the first floor are four bedrooms, one ensuite, and a separate bathroom, while outside there is a kitchen garden with raised beds, a courtyard, a duckpond and three large pastures including a copse which is carpeted in bluebells each spring.

Two barns, the bothy and the dairy were converted into holiday lets by 1990 and will provide a working business and an income for the new owners.


The disused barns were converted into holiday lets as long ago as 1990


An enforced break for Covid allowed a modern update for the barn accommodation

“Dad had groundbreaking ideas”

Liz Spicer-Short said:

“Dad is a great analyst and had absolutely groundbreaking ideas – the barns had no roofs when we moved in, but were up and running as a holiday business by 1990 and as far as I am concerned, mum and dad were far ahead of the game.

“Nowadays every farmer seems to have a converted barn to let or a holiday cottage, but 30 years ago they didn’t, it was very new.

“Dad also pioneered Friday changeovers for holiday cottages, a huge success. People could leave London late on Friday, would get here in the dark not really knowing where they were, then wake up on Saturday morning, see the views and just couldn’t believe it!

“We have a lot of return customers, and although Covid really stopped it in its tracks, in a funny sort of way it was something of a blessing because it had been difficult to get time off when families booked several years ahead.

“We took advantage of Covid to do a makeover in the barns with modern kitchens and bathrooms, a 30-year update, and the reactions we have had since reopening have been amazing.”


The Dairy is where Peter and Belinda Bell hope to live as lifetime tenants

The gardens include well established vegetable and flower beds

The manor’s pond comes complete with Indian Runner ducks

“It is a magical place”

Belinda Bell added:

“It is such a tremendously exciting building with a lot of history and a lot of stories to tell. What luck we had finding it, and how lucky we have been to live here.

“It is a magical place and it has been an honour to be a custodian of it for a while, but it is time for someone else to take it on now and enjoy it.”

The name Scoles is derived from the family called Scoville or Scovil who originally came from the village of Escoville in Normandy.

There are records of Scovilles living at Kingston in the 13th and 14th centuries but the property was then passed to their female descendants including Dacombes and Colsons, before being bought in 1810 by John Scott, the first Earl of Eldon.

Scoles Manor has its own well, which once provided all the water for the farm


The courtyard cobbles have been dated back to medieval times


A copse with an established field of bluebells is part of the 27 acre estate

Patchwork quilt of fields and farms

Scoles Manor is listed for sale with Savills estate agents with a guide price of £3,950,000. A spokesperson said:

“Scoles Manor is a charming and historic former farmhouse and farmstead, in a breathtaking elevated situation amongst lush farmland, in the heart of the Isle of Purbeck.

“The property’s setting is truly exceptional, nestled in a landscape that has remained largely unchanged for centuries. The rural location is a patchwork quilt of fields and farms, with the common in the valley below, while Corfe Castle and the Purbeck Hills form a stunning backdrop.

“The surrounding countryside is spectacular with the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage site, just a short walk away, one of the National Trust’s best-known sites in Corfe Castle, and the steam railway with a line to Swanage.

“Purbeck offers phenomenal walking and riding including along the Dorset coastal path, sea swimming, coasteering and climbing are popular at Winspit and Dancing Ledge while there is golf at the Isle of Purbeck Golf Club and tennis at Beach Gardens, Swanage.”

The views across to Corfe Castle are absolutely priceless

Liz Spicer-Short is delighted that she and her family were able to be custodians of such a splendid historical house

Further information

  • Full selling details are available on Savills‘ website

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