The Sunday Times – 5 December 1993 

You don’t need to buy to make your dream come true, reports Mary Wilson

THERE are many beautiful country homes in which you might dream of living but never have the wherewithal to do so. But this could be your big chance: some owners of these properties are, for a variety of reasons - financial need, an overseas posting or change of circumstances — putting them up for rent rather than for sale.

Renting suits many people, including American and Euro­pean families posted to this country for just a few years. The change in tenancy laws in 1989 which created the assured shorthold tenancy has also helped lo increase the availability of this type of property as the owners know they cannot be held to ransom by a silting tenant.

In Winterborne, Dorset, Clenston Manor is up for let again, available for three to five years because the owners are still abroad. "This property has been rented out for the past 10 years." says Robin Gould, of Savills. which is handling the deal. "It is owned by a brother and sister who are away, but know that they will return in the next few years, so this is the ideal solution for them."

The manor is a Grade I listed flint and stone property dating back to the 13th century and has the unusual distinction of never having been sold over 700 years. It has 3.6 acres of grounds and gardens, a swimming pool, tennis lawn, pond, thatched barn and six bed­rooms, all for £25.000 a year.

Another Grade I listed build­ing available for rent is Lord and Lady Fairhaven's Kirtling Tower, near Newmarket, Suf­folk. This 1530s tower is all that remains of the 16th-cen­tury mansion once owned by Sir Edward North, one of Henry Vlll's chancellors.

The Fairhavens restored the tower in the 1980s. "We had intended lo sell it." Lady Fairhaven says, "but eventually de­cided that, by renting, it would enable the property to stay within the family." Sam But­ler, of Butler Sherbom in Burford, Oxfordshire, which is handling the property, says: "The decision by Lord and Lady  Fairhaven  to offer the tower for rent offers someone the chance to live in splendid surroundings without the long-term commitment that buying a country house or estate entails."

Kirtling Tower has two tower bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, seven further bed­rooms, drawing room, dining room, study, library and domestic offices. The monthly rental of £3,250 includes the use of a formal garden, croquet lawn and moat 

Near Arlesford, Hampshire, Ann Loudon is letting Tichborne House, which has been in her family for generations.  It is a pretty 19th century building in the middle of a 3,000 acre estate with the river Itchen running through it. 

"I am terribly sad to have to do this." says Loudon, "but it is the only way I can keep it going at the moment, and pay for its upkeep and staff."" The eight bedroomed house will be let" by John D. Wood for £5,000 a month, including butler and gardener. The family chapel, which is used by locals every Sunday, will also be available.

Slightly different is Wardour Castle in Tisbury, Wiltshire. The Grade I listed Palladian house, which was a school until 1989, has been bought by Nigel Tuersley, an ecologist and developer. He has restored the house to its original state and is living there, but is converting the top floor into three large flats available for rental.

The flats will be ready in the new year. Each has two bed­rooms and an enormous recep­tion room, and will be in keeping with the rest of the house. The rent is £1,600 to £1.800 a week for each flat through John D Wood.

Nigel Tuersley