The first mention of the de Sausmarez family in Guernsey is at the consecration of the Vale church in 1115 followed by a letter dated 1254 in which Prince Edward, Lord of the Isles, afterwards King Edward I, ordered an enquiry into the rights of the Abbot and Monks of St. Michel to 'wreck' in the Islands of Guernsey and Jersey. Of this oldest manor house only a fragment remains. Its rough but remarkably solid stonework forms the basis of an outhouse on the north-east side of the main buildings and surrounds an arched doorway which was later blocked in with quite a different form of stone. This is one of the most ancient fragments of unrepaired Norman masonry in the island and can be fairly confidently dated as mid-13th century work.

John Andros built the second house around 1557, running down the slope of the shallow valley towards the fish pond, at right angles to the original one. In a party-wall on the ground floor of this building there is carved, on a lintel over a door leading from the mainhall to a smaller room, the initials I.A. and the date 1585. The lower end of the house is now used as a craft metal workshop, and the upper, which was restored and altered, once in 1759 and again exactly two hundred years later, is still inhabited.

Sir Edmund (1637-1714) rebuilt the manor for himself. The beauty and style of the building was influenced of New England. Matthew de Sausmarez was a Seigneur from 1774 to 1820. His main contribution to the estate was the building of the walls which enclose the potager, (vegetable garden) the orchard and the tennis court and the restoration of the old barn facing the Tudor house and to the south-west of it.

General George de Sausmarez pulled down most of his father's house in 1873. He replaced it on the first floor with a large dining-room and still larger drawing-room. Despite the unfortunate appearance which their windows and general design present from outside, in strong contrast to the Queen Anne facade, the interiors of these rooms have a peculiar charm. The same startling mixture of happy and unhappy touches of inspiration characterise the large entrance-hall which the General built on the north-east side of the Queen Anne house to link it with the Tudor one. The main feature of this hall and gallery is a riotous medley of wood-carving, some of it Burmese, some of it copies of the same by a local craftsman and some of it consisting of Old Testament figures and scenes, believed to have been acquired from Breton churches where they had been put up for sale. The whole presents an effect which, one feels, would meet with the approval of John Betjeman with his sympathetic eye for such Victorian fantasy.

After the General's death his widow lived on at the Manor, as Dame, with her sister and brother until her death in 1915. She was succeeded in the Seigneurie by her nephew, Sir Havilland de Sausmarez who, after a distinguished judicial career in the service of the Foreign Office, including serving as Chief Judge of the British Supreme Court for China for 16 years became the second member of his family to hold the office of Bailiff of Guernsey. He died during the German occupation of the Island. His persistent refusal to install electric light saved the manor from being requisitioned by the occupying power. His nephew, the late Seigneur, Cecil de Sausmarez, after a distinguished career in the Diplomatic Service and whilst a successful people deputy carried out an extensive programme of restoration and modernisation of the property.

Today Sausmarez Manor is open to the public and includes a beautiful garden and statue park.

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Founded: 1873
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

Marcus Stone (8 months ago)
A little sad. Needs some polish. Beautiful location and house. Needs some love
Brett Davies (10 months ago)
Free outdoor space for a picnic with parking. Go for the chocolate cake if you visit the cafe.
Neil Mallett (15 months ago)
This is I great day out with the family, kids can run about. Adults can relax,eat, drink, there is a lot for kids.
Eileen Weed (2 years ago)
We went to the weekly Farmer's Market which had local vegetables, crafts and very limited variety of prepared snacks. Sadly the timing wasn't right to attend the house tour so we couldn't see it inside - I believe the only tour on that day (Saturday July 20, 2019) was at 11 am. It would be nice if they offered more tour timings when cruise ships are in port!
Lisa Robins (2 years ago)
Visited at the end of the season (mainly to get the two Pokestops I hadn't got yet. Please Pokemon players respect that this is the actual home of Mr De Sausmarez, so don't intrude at random times! If you don't play Pokemon, your loss!) I mainly went to the cafe and a little walk on the paths that go past the pond and round the other way, where I saw some fantastic sculptures. (I loved the leopard on the wall, absolutely gorgeous and my favourite) It opens again in April, so I want to come back for a proper visit (and some cake in the cafe, it looked good!) Also there is a ride-on railway (for children possibly, they get all the fun!), ghost tours of the house, sculptures everywhere and probably lots of things I'm forgetting right now. There is a car park and a bus stop right outside.
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