When we were asked to install new flooring at historic Manwood House in Sandwich, we knew we needed a flooring that would reflect all the charm and character of this incredible property. In choosing Sussex Burnt Oak we were staying true to the extraordinary history of this beautiful property with its stunning gardens
Step back in time
Manwood House dates back to 1564 and started its life as the home of a free school founded by Sir Roger Manwood. A favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, he was known for his philanthropy and the school was created to provide free education for the children of Sandwich whose parents wouldn’t otherwise have been able to send them to school.
Just 12 miles from the beautiful cathedral city of Canterbury, Manwood House was part of the original school campus. On completion in 1573, Queen Elizabeth I was presented with a silver cup in the garden, planted a tree and was then entertained in the sitting room.
It’s easy to feel you’re stepping back in time when you enter Manwood House which is why we wanted to use materials with a timeless beauty reflecting that of the property itself.
Manwood House has been privately owned for many years and underwent a sympathetic modernisation from 2010 onwards. The gardens were also remodelled by Carole Cadwallader, winner of an RHS Silver Medal for her gorgeous Poetry Lover’s Garden.
The grounds at Manwood House are open to the public as part of the National Garden Scheme and are well worth a visit. Abundantly planted and bordered by local flint walls, they feature a spectacular ancient robinia tree that many have speculated could be the tree planted by Queen Elizabeth I herself. There are gorgeous peonies, romantic borders including one planted entirely with spectacular irises and an ornamental lily pond.
The gardens are truly wonderful with a very romantic feeling thanks to the lush planting and luxuriant use of annuals, shrubs and trees. It was a truly inspiring landscape in which to work as the orangery looks out over the stunning landscape.
The right choice
We decided on Sussex Burnt Oak flooring for a number of reasons. The deep brown hues of the wide planks project a sense of timeless tradition that fits well with the age of the house. We also loved the contrast between the gravitas of the flooring and the beautiful light filled orangery – definitely the right choice for this restoration.
Our range of Burnt Oak floors are an ideal choice for a period property restoration, offering the perfect blend of style and functionality. We also felt that the warm underlying golden tones were the perfect complement to the garden itself.
Engineered wood is a superb choice for a conservatory or orangery as its more structurally stable than hardwood and is better able to withstand a wide range of temperatures. The wide planks reflect the kind of wood floor that would originally have been laid when Queen Elizabeth came to call back in the 16th century.
Both the owners and our team were delighted with the result. It was quite something to be involved in a piece of history and our Sussex Burnt Oak flooring rose magnificently to the challenge.