Henry VIII home goes on sale for £26m
2:00pm Tuesday 9th October 2012 in News
A former home of Henry VIII has been put on the market for a cool £26m, making it the most expensive property to ever be offered for sale in the borough.
The price is a far cry from its £13,000 asking price in the 1950s.
The Old Rectory in Church Road, Wimbledon Park, once owned by Henry VIII, is Merton's oldest home dating back more than 500 years.
Built in the early 1500s, the medieval mansion is set behind St Mary’s Church within 2.5 acres overlooking the All England Tennis Club.
Spanning a massive 16,200 sq foot, the palatial grade two listed building boasts 10 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms, 8 reception rooms and a medieval chapel - the oldest part of the house.
Norman Plastow, president of The Wimbledon Society historical group, viewed the house in 1953.
He said: "I looked at it when it was up for sale in the 1950s when it sold for £13,700.
"I went over it in detail and I have been there several times since. "There are interesting things like a tunnel by the study.
"There’s a very thick piece of wall and a builder who worked on it opened it up and found an underground tunnel but we never found out where it went.
"One of my favourite parts was that to get up to the top floor attic you opened a cupboard and inside the cupboard was a staircase which finished at knee level and you pulled a handle and out came two more steps.
"We looked at it partly from the point of view of the house and the land it had, but it was a tremendous amount of money at the time.
"I trained as an architect for six years and when I got a job the pay was £400 a year, which puts it in perspective."
Over its 500 year history the Tudor mansion has played host to kings, lords and countrymen including Lord William Cecil Burghley, Elizabeth I’s principal advisor and First Minister.
Its gardens were designed by the landscaper responsible for Hampton Court Palace and include rolling lawns, a medieval fig tree trail and pond.