To the manor Warne: Liz Hurley and her cricketer fiance take a step up the property ladder with 13-bedroom £6million country home set in 187 acres
PUBLISHED: 00:03, 13 October 2012 | UPDATED: 00:03, 13 October 2012
It's a long way from their more modest childhood homes.
Having sealed their unlikely union with an engagement, Elizabeth Hurley and Shane Warne can now live like lord and lady of the manor after spending £6million on a Georgian country mansion.
The purchase of Donnington Hall in a picturesque part of Herefordshire is a big step up the property ladder for the former cricketer and his fiancee.
Donnington Hall: The estate was mentioned in the Domesday Book. The Grade II-listed property come with a private lake, parkland and landscaped gardens
Miss Hurley, 47, who now models for Estee Lauder, is a comprehensive-educated former teenage punk who grew up in an unpretentious property in Basingstoke, Hampshire, while Mr Warne spent his childhood in a bungalow in a working class area of Melbourne, Australia.
In contrast, there is plenty of space at magnificent Donnington Hall.
It has 13 bedrooms, five bathrooms, stables, a private lake and tennis courts, as well as 187 acres of land, 46 of which are parkland and landscaped gardens.
With four children between them – Miss Hurley’s son Damian and Mr Warne’s children Brooke, 15, Jackson, 13, and Summer, 10 – and their extensive family and friends, there is plenty of room to accommodate all. There is also room for a housekeeper and nanny, an extensive cellar, 12 stables, a coach house, tennis court and four estate cottages.
Engaged: Liz Hurley and Shane Warne have sealed their unlikely engagement with the purchase of Donnington Hall
The tenants who occupy these have been reassured their new landlords have no intention of throwing them out.
Mr Warne, 43, proposed with a huge sapphire ring last October and earlier this year Miss Hurley hinted that buying a property together was an important next move for them as a couple.
She said: ‘It was very important to us to get engaged because of the children. It was important for Damian’s relationship with Shane and his children’s with me that they knew it wasn’t just a passing flight of fancy for us.
‘It gives them a little more stability, understanding we have every intention of getting married and setting up home together.’
Bling: Mr Warne proposed to Miss Hurley with a huge sapphire ring, pictured, last October
Donnington Hall, mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, is Grade II listed and was the country seat of the Bishop of Hereford until the mid-18th century.
The current Georgian building was built by the wealthy Skippe family, who bought it in 1671.
It was later owned by Admiral Sir Arthur Dalrymple Fanshawe, a former aide-de-camp to Queen Victoria who became commander of the Navy Fleet between 1910 and 1913.
The grounds still contain a 16th century barn and coach house.
A tenant on the estate yesterday said he believed Miss Hurley and Warne bought the property in the spring, although Land Registry records confirm only that the couple were proprietors of Donnington Hall as of September 18.
A groundsman told the Daily Mail he was unable to talk about the property’s owners.
A tenant living in one of the lodges at the entrance to the estate said he had seen the couple ‘driving past in their various vehicles’.
The tenant added: ‘I think they bought the house around eight months ago but they must have been considering buying it for a lot longer than that as I’ve seen them a few times over here in the last couple of years or so.
‘I’m quite happy to have a famous landlord and landlady – I enjoy watching Shane commentating on the cricket. We’ve been told by the property management company we deal with that they are happy for us tenants to remain.’
The hall is reached through a gated entrance on a country road, near Ledbury, shielded from public view by trees, parkland and hedgerows on all sides. A source in the nearby village of Dymock said Miss Hurley had been a regular visitor to Ledbury in recent months but had not been sighted in Dymock. The couple have yet to be spotted at the village pub, the Beauchamp Arms Inn.
A spokesman for Hayes estate agents in Ledbury, which handled the sale, said: ‘The property was listed for sale with a guide price of £6million and there was a successful sale of the property in the full knowledge of that guide price.’
AND IT'S ALL A FAR CRY FROM THIS...
They grew up thousands of miles apart but both in decidedly bland home towns.
Elizabeth Hurley was raised in Basingstoke, which is nicknamed ‘Roundabout City’ or ‘Doughnut City’ because of the number of large roundabouts.
It was targeted by the Germans during the Second World War, but in the late 1960s the town planners carried on where the Luftwaffe left off by developing it into an ‘expanded town’.
That resulted in many historic buildings being replaced by a shopping centre, multi-storey car park, office blocks and estates.
Miss Hurley is believed to have grown up in a four-bedroom detached property, pictured top, called Cuckoo Bushes in Basingstoke. It was sold several years ago for £415,000.
Meanwhile, Shane Warne grew up in a suburban bungalow 25 miles from Melbourne, Australia, similar to that pictured bottom.
Upper Ferntree Gully is part of a sprawling region that is home to a mix of white- and blue-collar workers, artists, writers and actors.
In its earlier days, after the Second World War, it was known as the ‘end of the train line’, making it popular for day trippers and families taking weekly holidays.
But by the time Shane Warne was born to parents Keith and Brigitte in September 1969, Upper Ferntree Gully had become a rather bland suburb.
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