Saling Hall, the home of Hugh Johnson OBE and his family for the last 40 years, is for sale.
The fine Elizabethan manor house with its superb 12-acre (4.8ha) gardens is on the market through estate agents Savills for £2.8m.
Johnson and his wife Judy bought Saling Hall in Essex in the early 1970s, a major attraction being the extensive five-room cellar.
‘It really is very special,’ the Decanter columnist, author and gardener told Decanter.com. ‘The oldest part of the house is Tudor, and no one quite knows why it had such enormous cellars.’
The house, with its Elizabethan panelling and magnificent fireplaces – one is nine feet wide – is described by Savills as ‘the quintessence of English country comfort dressed up as a miniature stately home’.
For Johnson, who is a renowned arboriculturalist and horticulturalist as well as a wine critic, the gardens at Saling Hall are its most compelling feature.
‘Now approaching maturity, its fine trees, its groves and glades, its five ponds, its temple and statuary evoke an earlier age, with the benefit of relatively simple maintenance,’ Savills says.
The main part of the garden is a landscaped arboretum with rare trees, glades, groves and pools; there is a conservatory looks out into the walled garden dating to 1698, laid out with box-hedged brick path, box pyramids and apple trees trained as parasols.
The Johnsons are moving to London – ‘somewhere leafy, and definitely with a cellar’ – and are taking the major part of their wine collection with them.
He is also selling some wines, Johnson told Decanter.com. ‘I haven’t got a final list yet but there will be some that I think are special. A few 61s, but no case lots.’
Saling Hall features in every episode of Hugh Johnson’s brilliant – and hilarious – 1984 series How to Handle a Wine
Written by Adam Lechmere