This large, bright two-bedroom apartment extends to just under 1,000 sq ft internally and sits in a Grade II*-listed Georgian Manor with a fascinating provenance. Located in the charming, market town of Aylesbury, Prebendal House is positioned in rolling communal gardens and was sensitively converted into apartments in recent years. Celebrating and preserving the original fabric of the building, the space has been thoughtfully reimagined to create a home suitable for 21st-century life.
Setting the Scene
Prebendal House sits in a private enclave at the end of a charming thoroughfare of timber-framed cottages within the historic Conservation Area of the Old Town. The first record of the manor house was in 1656, when it was a stone and timber building. During conservation work, Oxford Archaeology carried out historic building recording at Prebendal and concluded that original aspects of that house might survive in the attic.
The present structure was built in the early 18th century and extensively modified by its most notable owner John Wilkes. Wilkes was a prominent MP for Aylesbury and lived in the home from the mid-1750s until his death. Well-known for being imprisoned in the Tower of London (and then being released in 1768 following a protest of some 15,000 people in the famous “Wilkes and Liberty” marches), Wilkes was also a notable member of the notorious Hell Fire Club. For more information, please see the History section below.
The Grand Tour
Access to the manor house is via a brick-built gatehouse, incorporated by John Wilkes during his time at the home. A handsome stuccoed building, the entrance has grand classical proportions and is accessed beneath a portico of ionic columns. A communal hallway with a cantilevered staircase and intricately carved panelling leads to the second floor of the building, where the apartment unfolds laterally. Featuring generous ceiling heights and working shutters throughout, the spaces are bathed in natural light and offer far-reaching views of the surrounding countryside.
At the front of the plan is the large, dual-aspect drawing room, which is painted in calming, neutral tones. A beautiful arts and crafts fireplace provides a focal point to the room. The open-plan kitchen and living space is perfect for entertaining; a half-wall encloses the kitchen but allows conversations to continue while cooking. Picture windows frame far-reaching views of the Chiltern Hills, adding a sense of verdant serenity to the space.
Two generously sized bedrooms are off the main hallway, each with built-in storage, charming original fireplaces and views over the gables of Grade II*-listed St Mary’s Church.
Also radiating from the main hallway is a large family bathroom and separate guest WC. These spaces have been utilised to offer ample storage, perfect for hiding away life’s necessities.
The Great Outdoors
The expansive communal gardens unfold over approximately 1.25 acres. Awash with ancient trees and mature planting, the garden offers a perfect setting for entertaining or a morning coffee. Externally, there is a private, gated entrance and allocated secure parking.
Out and About
The apartment lies in a historic enclave of Aylesbury, awash with timber-framed buildings and quaint cobbled streets. Buckinghamshire nearby is a bustling market town with excellent amenities. There is an abundance of local supermarkets (Waitrose and Sainsbury’s), cafes and bakeries, while local restaurants, such as the nearby Chequers Inn and Five Elms, are some of the highest-rated gastro pubs in the area.
Just outside of the town is the National Trust-owned Hartwell House and Spa. A Jacobean manor in some 90 acres of stunning parkland, it’s the perfect country house hotel with two AA Rosette restaurants and an expansive spa (housed in a former orangery). Additionally, amongst the Chiltern Hills (perfect for a Sunday stroll) are Waddesdon Manor and Claydon House, two great houses offering walking tours, weekend markets and family entertainment for the historically inclined.
Prebendal House has excellent access to public transport and lies within easy reach of Aylesbury Station, offering direct lines into London Marylebone within an hour. The A41 and M1 are a stone’s throw away, providing fast and direct routes into the city, whilst Heathrow airport is approximately a 40-minute drive away.
Lease Length: approx. 103 years remaining
Service Charge: approx. £2,982 per annum
Ground Rent: approx. £225 per annum
Council Tax Band: D
Aylesbury is the County Town of Buckinghamshire and is an area of great antiquity. The name ‘Aylesbury’ is thought to be a derivative of ‘Aigle’s Burgh’, meaning hill town or fort and a number of pre-Roman settlements in the area are considered to date back to around 650 BC.
The town was given charter and borough status in 1554 by Mary Tudor as a token of her appreciation for its loyalty when Aylesbury declared her Queen of England against the competing claims of Lady Jane Grey.
The town went on to play a key part in the English Civil War. The Battle of Aylesbury (1642), led by John Hampden (cousin to Oliver Cromwell), was fought on nearby Holman’s Bridge, a version of which still stands today.
Aylesbury’s role as County Town (taken away from Buckingham) confirmed Aylesbury as the centre of government in the late 18th-century, thus starting a period of building numerous civic and residential buildings.
One of the most notable of these buildings was Prebendal House, its most famous resident being John Wilkes. A radical MP for Aylesbury, he spent time in the Tower of London in 1763 after he was accused of seditious libel after he published inflammatory pamphlets attacking King George III and prominent members of his administration. He was released after some 15,000 people marched the streets of London in the famous ‘Wilkes and Liberty’ marches. He is still remembered today as a defender of freedom of speech and personal liberty. Associated with Sir Francis Dashwood of West Wycombe and the infamous Hell Fire Club (of nearby West Wycombe Park and the Hell Fire Caves), Wilkes was also loved in the area for his charitable donations.
Adjoining Prebendal is the Parish Church of St Mary’s. There has been a church on the same site since the 12th century, with relics of the original structure still existing, including the font. Extended throughout the 14th and 15th centuries, the 15th-century perpendicular west window is still in-situ, depicting colourful characters and places from the Old Testament.
In the 19th century, the church was completely restored by Sir Gilbert Scott, who created the current rough-coursed construction.
Interested? Let’s talk
- A Growing Concern: glorious festive greenery with Butter WakefieldGardens
- Five Good Things: what to do, visit, read and book this DecemberPursuits
- Home Comforts: kimchi, crystals, cocktails (and mocktails) with Alice CrawleyLeisure
- Inspiration of the Week: lavish details not far from the river in LondonHomes
- A Home with a History: how a twist of fate – and a change of scenery – transformed Alexandra Tolstoy’s life and workInteriors