United Kingdom

Vicarage owned by Jane Austen's nephew goes on the market for £3.5million

A former vicarage once owned by Jane Austen's nephew which backs onto the River Thames has gone on sale for £3.5million - but the new owners aren't allowed to play music during a church service or serve afternoon teas. 

Berkeleys in Bray, Berkshire was the home of James Edward Austen-Leigh, who wrote a biography of his aunt and acclaimed Pride and Prejudice author from the stunning property in 1869.

With astonishing views over the River Thames and its own boat mooring, the six-bedroom home boasts a vast amount of living space over three floors and 37 rooms. 

The lower ground floor includes a sitting room, kitchen, bedroom and ensuite, with a garden room looking out on an outdoor space.

Berkeleys has a second kitchen on the ground floor, alongside a breakfast room, sitting room, dining room and study, all with stunning views of the river. There is also a conservatory that leads to a terrace and the riverside garden.

Berkeleys in Bray, Berkshire (pictured) was the home of James Edward Austen-Leigh, who wrote a biography of his aunt and acclaimed Pride and Prejudice author from the stunning property in 1869

With astonishing views over the River Thames (pictured) and its own boat mooring, the six-bedroom home boasts a vast amount of living space over three floors and 37 rooms

Upstairs, the homeowner can enjoy a grand galleried landing, a master bedroom which has an ensuite and a balcony overlooking the River Thames and four further bedrooms. 

The idyllic property belongs to a family who purchased it 23 years ago for its proximity to the water, but are now downsizing and relocating to the south coast.   

The owner, a businesswoman who lives there with her retired husband, said: 'We love being near water and this was perfect.'

She said that despite its proximity to the River Thames, the house had never flooded due to its higher elevation.

The lower ground floor includes a sitting room (pictured), kitchen, bedroom and ensuite, with a garden room opening onto an outdoor space

Berkeleys has a second kitchen on the ground floor, alongside a breakfast room, sitting room, dining room and study, all with stunning views of the river. There is also a conservatory that leads to a terrace and the riverside garden

Pictured: The sun lounge at the property which looks out on stunning views over the River Thames in Bray, Berkshire

The property has stunning wood floors with a galleried, spacious landing with space for a study or sitting area upstairs

Due to the home's age and history, the house comes with some restrictive covenants, including two which say the owners cannot play music during a church service or serve afternoon teas.

James Edward Austen-Leigh, who published the earliest full-length biography of Jane Austen in 1869, was the son of the novelist's eldest brother James and his second wife Mary Lloyd.

It is believed he wrote and published the book, which is still in print today, while living at Berkeleys.

The idyllic property belongs to a family who purchased it 23 years ago for its proximity to the water, but are now downsizing and relocating to the south coast

Due to the home's age and history, the house comes with some restrictive covenants, including two which say the owners cannot play music during a church service or serve afternoon teas. Pictured: The terrace and gardens

There are four bathrooms at the spacious property, including three ensuite bathrooms and one downstairs toilet

Pictured: The master bedroom, which comes with an ensuite bathroom, shower room and its own private balcony

James Edward Austen-Leigh, who published the earliest full-length biography of Jane Austen in 1869, was the son of the novelist's eldest brother James and his second wife Mary Lloyd. Pictured: A bedroom

It is believed Austen-Leigh wrote and published the book, which is still in print today, while living at Berkeleys. Pictured: The dining room

The biography, A Memoir of Jane Austen, compiles Austen-Leigh's memories of 'dear Aunt Jane' alongside the recollections of various other members of the family. 

It also includes edited versions of letters sent to and from the author, alongside some of her early works and poems. 

Estate agents Sothebys Realty say the property will attract a family moving out of London, locals who have always sought river frontage or returning expats.

The biography, A Memoir of Jane Austen, compiles Austen-Leigh's memories of 'dear Aunt Jane' alongside the recollections of various other members of the family. Pictured: The view

Who was Jane Austen? The story of the literary genius with a family history steeped in poverty who grew up at Oxford University

The literary genius was born in Steventon, Hampshire in 1775 and for much of her life, her father George served as the rector of the nearby parishes. 

Mr Austen came from a wealthy and respected family of wool merchants but after many centuries, they fell into poverty and George and his sister were orphaned and taken in by relatives.

He later entered St John's College, Oxford on a fellowship where he is believed to have met his future wife Cassandra Leigh.

The Leighs were a prominent family and her father Thomas was rector at All Souls College, Oxford.

She grew up at the university with the gentry and she became engaged to George in 1763.  

Stoneleigh Abbey had been acquired by Sir Thomas Leigh, Lord Mayor of London, in 1558.

Charles I gave Leigh the barony after he offered hospitality when the gates of Coventry were closed to Charles during the Civil War.

It stayed in the Leigh family from 1561 to 1990 and they became the largest land-owners in Warwickshire.  

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