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The Norfolk farm once owned by famous author to go under the hammer

PUBLISHED: 10:44 12 July 2018 | UPDATED: 08:28 13 July 2018

Moat Farm, Bedingham, for sale by auction. Pic: www.auctionhouse.co.uk

Moat Farm, Bedingham, for sale by auction. Pic: www.auctionhouse.co.uk

Moat Farm, Bedingham, once owned by the author of King Solomon’s Mines, Sir Henry Rider Haggard, and the subject of his book A Farmer’s Year, is for sale by auction for a guide price of £575,000. Property editor Caroline Culot finds out more.

Moat Farm, Bedingham, for sale by auction. Pic: www.auctionhouse.co.ukMoat Farm, Bedingham, for sale by auction. Pic: www.auctionhouse.co.uk

A farmhouse in south Norfolk once owned by author of ‘King Solomon’s Mines’ and ‘She,’ Sir Henry Rider Haggard, is coming up for auction.

Moat Farm, Bedingham, is coming under the hammer with Auction House with a guide price of £575,000. It was owned by the author in the latter part of the 19th century and was the focus of his book ‛A Farmer’s Year’ which chronicles the life of a typical Norfolk farm (Moat Farm and his farm at Ditchingham.)

Moat Farm, Bedingham, for sale by auction. Pic: www.auctionhouse.co.ukMoat Farm, Bedingham, for sale by auction. Pic: www.auctionhouse.co.uk

Sir Haggard, born in Norfolk, is most famous for his exciting novels set in exotic locations, predominantly Africa, but in fact he did much work on agricultural reform and was knighted for this. He served on a number of Royal commissions and in managing the Norfolk estate became a recognised expert on agricultural matters.

Moat Farm, Bedingham, for sale by auction. Pic: www.auctionhouse.co.ukMoat Farm, Bedingham, for sale by auction. Pic: www.auctionhouse.co.uk

A Farmer’s Year is his diary for 1898, recounting the work of the farm, month by month, together with observations on rural life and the state of agriculture in general, which was suffering due to the population drift to the towns and competition from cheaper imported food.

His descriptions of country life are beautifully written and the book contains some illustrations of Moat Farm and its land - he describes it as having ‘in all an area of about 104 acres’ with crops including ‘barley, wheat, pease, oats, root and swedes.’

What comes through the book is the author’s love of the land but also his concern for its future and the hardship faced by many farmers and their workers.

Moat Farm for sale includes the highly desirable detached farmhouse with a two bedroom cottage, stables, office and barn within 1.2 acres.

The farmhouse is Grade II listed and has many attractive and historic features including inglenook fireplaces, exposed wall and ceiling beams and period doors and windows.

The grounds are very private and attractive incorporating large pond areas, formal gardens and mature shrubs and trees. A further four acres of land may be available by separate negotiation.

The property is surrounded by open countryside and is seven miles from Diss.

Sir Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines was one of his most successful novels, written in six weeks and published in the same year, 1885. Apparently, although some of his hand written manuscripts are preserved in the Norfolk Record Office, he preferred to dictate to his secretary rather than write his novels down himself.

Moat Farm, Bedingham, is lot 21 in the Auction House sale on July 25 at 11am being held at Dunston Hall Hotel, Norwich. For more information contact Auction House on 01603 505100.

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