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Live on a writer's block:five homes for sale made famous by Britain's bestselling authors

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Fri 01 Dec 2017

Live on a writer's block:five homes for sale made famous by Britain's bestselling authors

A room of one's own is all a writer needs, insisted Virginia Woolf, and while many authors do slave away in garrets, others have enjoyed far more lavish surroundings and their homes are proving increasingly attractive to buyers.

It is hard to put a figure on the value of a home’s history, but there’s a consensus that a property with impressive connections can command a premium.

However, there is now hard evidence that properties with literary - rather than other - connections are the most valuable. In London, English Heritage’s blue plaque scheme reveals homes with connections to famous people, while outside the capital many local councils, civic societies and other organisations run similar schemes.

 

Research by estate agent Knight Frank has found that homes with a blue plaque commemorating writers commanded far higher prices than those linked to any other activity.

While properties outside the capital may not always bear the signature blue mark of distinction, there’s no denying that a home with literary links has enhanced appeal for bookworms and aspiring writers hoping to soak up a smidgeon of their heroes' genius.

Here is a selection of homes owned by famous authors for sale.

Frederick Forsyth

Weavers, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire

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£2.95million: Day Of The Jackal author Frederick Forsyth lived in this Buckinghamshire house

This country estate in the pretty village of Seer Green in the Chilterns is a fitting location for Frederick Forsyth, arguably Britain’s ultimate airport fiction writer.

The Day Of The Jackal author, former journalist and spy has lived at the house since 2010 and is now selling up.

The property is set in 4.2 acres of grounds and includes a four-bedroom house, a two-bedroom cottage, a one-bedroom garden annexe, a triple garage with two further garage blocks and a leisure area with indoor pool.

There is also a Koi pond for buyers after a taste of the exotic.

For sale for £2.95million through Savills.

JoJo Moyes
Joslyn’s Farm, Great Sampford

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£1.5million: Me Before You author JoJo Moyes' farmhouse

This six-bedroom farmhouse in 22 acres of paddock land is where best-selling author JoJo Moyes wrote her chart-smashing novel Me Before You, which was made into a film starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin last year.

Close to Saffron Walden and Cambridge, the house was built in the 17th century and is Grade II-listed. Moyes bought the property in 2006 and undertook a thorough renovation. “It was once council owned and a bit neglected and we have done lots of work on it - some ourselves, including putting a front door on the front and building an extension, which includes a separate bed and breakfast room when I thought we were going to have to take house guests to survive,” she says.  

“We also built equestrian facilities for our three horses, and later, bought the 15 acres around the house to ensure our privacy. We moved two miles up the road to a larger house, fully intending to move back to Joslyn’s Farm after the children had grown up, but our circumstances have changed, so we've decided to just cut the cord and let it go.”

For sale for £1.5million through Cheffins.

Roald Dahl
Turnchapel Mews, Battersea, SW4

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£1.65million: Roald Dahl's former mews house in south-west London

This four-bedroom house is in a recently converted gated mews where Roald Dahl once lived. The cobbled courtyard even boasts a coveted blue plaque marking the author’s years living there.

Dahl, best-known for his much-loved children’s fiction, lived in the mews from 1982 until his death in 1990.

He wrote two of his most famous books, The Witches and Matilda, while living in the 19th-century courtyard, which he described as his “little piece of London”. Contemporary artist Euan Uglow also lived in the mews, adapting part of it into an artist’s studio.

The newly renovated house has ample storage, a generous reception room with feature fireplace and a modern kitchen with integrated appliances.

For sale for £1.65million through Foxtons.

William Golding
Ebble Thatch, Bowerchalke, Salisbury

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£795,000: William Golding's former thatched family house with babbling stream in the garden

This chocolate box five-bedroom family house, complete with thatched roof and pretty country gardens with a babbling stream and pond, was once home to Nobel Laureate Sir William Golding.

Golding is best known for Lord Of The Flies, published in 1954, about a group of British schoolboys who after being stranded on a desert island rapidly descend into savagery.

The house’s extensive grounds give it a secluded feel, but the pretty English countryside surrounding it is a far cry from the chaotic, primal atmosphere of Golding’s most famous novel.

For sale for £795,000 through Strutt & Parker.

P. G. Wodehouse

Dunraven Street, Mayfair, W1K

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£2.3million: the neighbour's murderous butler allegedly inspired P.G. Wodehouse when he lived in Mayfair

Had P. G. Wodehouse not moved to this Mayfair block with his wife Ethel and stepdaughter Leonora, the world may never have enjoyed the superlative comic delights of Jeeves and Wooster.

Wodehouse is believed to have been inspired to write the stories about foppish Bertie Wooster and his long-suffering valet, Jeeves, by a butler employed at a house on the street who gave his employer leaking hot water bottles, tried to push him down the stairs and jabbed him with pins before finally murdering him.

Several of Wodehouse’s popular stories were written in the property, which was also once the home of Queen Victoria’s grandson, Alexander Mountbatten, before he moved into Kensington Palace.

More recently, British fashion designer Alexander McQueen bought the flat and lower floors of the building in 2008 and planned to convert it back into a single townhouse but died in 2010 before work could start.

For sale for £2.3million through Dexters.