The stunning estate belonged to Matilda of Flanders, wife of William the Conqueror

By Phil Boucher / People.com
September 27, 2019
Courtesy of Knight Frank

Ever wanted to be a real-life Lord and Lady of the Manor? Now’s your chance.

A historic home once owned by Matilda of Flanders, the wife of William the Conqueror, is up for sale at the relative bargain price of $1.2 million.

Along with a reception hall, drawing room, dining room, external office, and garden studio, the five-bedroom property comes with a highly unique extra: the title of “Lord of the Manor of Mythe and Mythe Hook.”

Courtesy of Knight Frank
Courtesy of Knight Frank

Thought to have been bestowed on the owners of the house by King John in the 13th century, the title refers to a small village near the beautiful country town of Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire.

The area is still popular with the royal family: both Prince Charles and Princess Anne have the official country residences in Gloucestershire, while Zara Phillips and husband Mike Tindall also live nearby with daughters Mia, 5, and Lena, 1.

Courtesy of Knight Frank

“Locally it is referred to as the infamous King John’s Hunting Lodge, however, there has been a structure on the site since Roman times,” reads the listing from real estate agents Knight Frank.

“The first owner on record is believed to be Queen Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror and subsequently, Tewkesbury Abbey was believed to have a free-standing chapel on the site.

Courtesy of Knight Frank

“The house is beautifully presented and combines architecture from the medieval and 16th century with modern-day finishes and comforts.”

Should you want to follow in the footsteps of Matilda of Flanders, however, you have an awful lot to live up to.

Born in 1031, she was a granddaughter of France’s King Robert II and fluent in Dutch, French, English and Latin.

According to legend, Matilda initially snubbed William’s marriage proposal because of his illegitimate birth but changed her mind after the Duke pulled her off her horse by her long braids.

The couple married in 1053, when Matilda was 21, and enjoyed an unusually close relationship for the period. Together they had 10 children, including two future kings of England: William II and Henry I. Matilda was also William’s closest political advisor and ruled Normandy for her husband after he left France to conquer England in 1066 — making her just about the most powerful woman in Europe at the time.

Added to that, Matilda was also crowned as the first modern queen of England in 1068 in Westminster — around 900 years before Queen Elizabeth received her own crown in the exact same place.

After she died, in 1083 at the age of 51, William plunged into a deep depression and became increasingly cruel. It is thought that this was largely because he was so heartbroken by her death.

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