Claire Perry, Tory MP for Devizes, is preparing to move into a major new home in the medieval village of Charlton St Peter, in the Vale of Pewsey, that has been advertised by estate agents with a guide price of £1.5 million.
The move follows the break up of Mrs Perry’s marriage to City fund manager Clayton Perry, which she announced in March, declaring that they had grown apart after 17 years because of the pressure of her political career.
And the move comes at an embarrassing time as 49-year-old Mrs Perry will be one of 1,200 delegates at the Tory Party conference in Manchester tomorrow (Sunday), due to be greeted by a march by up to 40,000 people protesting at the government’s cut-backs and austerity measures.
Mrs Perry’s new home is a six-bedroom refurbished property known as Charlton House, sold to her by Hungerford-based estate agents Knight Frank.
However, it was Smiths Gore who announced Mrs Perry’s new property in a press release under the heading MP Comes Home.
This did not refer to any specific property, Charlton House being identified by a simple internet search, agents Knight Frank and Rightmove among those advertising Charlton House, which stands out in a tiny village where the population is under 100.
And their websites still have it on display as up for sale.
The press release welcomed Mrs Perry visit to Smiths Gore’s High Street office to mark the firms first year in Marlborough, and showing a picture of her with partner Thomas Brunt.
It added: “Edward Hall, head of the agency, shared a recent Smiths Gore report on the rural housing market with Mrs Perry looking beyond the headlines and at the reality of the North/South divide on property prices.
“London may be experiencing increases of nearly 20 per cent, but in the North prices are still decreasing in some areas.
“Having recently bought a new home, the Devizes MP is delighted at the prospect of moving and being able to live and work in the heart of her constituency in the heart of her constituency.”
Mr Hall also pointed out: “Properties in the Pewsey Vale are generally sound investments because of good schooling as well as being in a beautiful part of the country.”
Mrs Perry’s family home – she has three children – was in the village of Broad Chalke, near Salisbury. It is a Grade II* listed property, which was initially put on the market with an asking price of £2,850,000.
But, as Marlborough News Online reported in June, the five or six bedroom property with a separate cottage in the grounds and fishing rights on the streams that run through the grounds, was taken off the market last December.
Mrs Perry accused a Daily Telegraph reporter in June of “unacceptable intrusion” when he questioned whether she had sought to find a new home in Wiltshire.
And she complained again when Marlborough News Online asked her about the purchase of Charlton House, claiming it was a “despicable decision” to publish details of the property.
“I shall have nothing to do with your organisation ever again,” she protested.
The details are, in fact, there to be seen online by anyone seeking a house in Charlton St Peter, noted for its church, dedicated in 1308, and the Carlton Cat pub, now up for sale at £275,000,
The pub used to hold an annual dinner in honour of Stephen Duck (1705—1756), a thresher who became celebrated for his local verse and became a protégé of Queen Caroline, consort of George II.
Charlton House, which has four reception rooms and five bathrooms, is described on one agent’s website as: “An exceptional six bedroom family house set in glorious gardens and grounds of just under three quarters of an acre situated in the heart of this small and friendly rural village set in the Vale of Pewsey.
“Charlton House has been the subject of comprehensive refurbishment and extension by the current owners and offers a versatile, bright interior with both formal and informal accommodation over four floors. The principal rooms enjoy fine period detail including high ceilings, large sash windows with shutters and fireplaces.
“Charlton House is set in gardens and grounds of just under three quarters of an acre. There is generous parking and a brick built garden store close to the house. There is also a large brick built barn which would be ideal for conversion into a home office, games room or ancillary accommodation, subject to consent.”