AN HISTORIC 16th century Bewdley mansion where Charles De Gaulle trained French soldiers has gone up for sale.

The Grade II listed, 20-bedroomed Ribbesford House will be sold by public auction at the Crown and Sandys in Ombersley on April 17 at 6pm.

Worcester-based Andrew Grant estate agents have listed the three story building and 8.15 acre-site with a guide price of £500,000 – although a complete renovation is needed.

But the property has a fascinating history behind it and was most notably used to train French free soldiers in 1942 – two years before the D-Day landings in 1944.

Andrew Grant’s property description says: “The estate was first mentioned in written documents by an Anglo-Saxon Charter dated early in the 11th century, which states that it was given by Wulstan, Bishop of Worcester, to his sister; therefore it may be assumed that it was in existence in the 10th century.

“During the Danish conquest it was seized by the invading forces but later was regained by the Monks, who held it only for a short time, when it was again captured this time by Turstin, a Fleming.

“In 1074 the estate was presented to Ralph de Mortimer in recognition of his services to William of Normandy in his conquest of England. It remained in the Mortimer family for many centuries.

“In the early 17th century it passed to Edward Lord Herbert of Cherbury and it was owned by this well famed family for a great number of years.

“During the Second World War Ribbesford was requisitioned and used by British, American and Free French military, Polish and Italian Prisoners of War and was visited by Charles de Gaulle.”

It goes on to say the names of Rudyard Kipling, Edward Burne-Jones, James Lees-Milne, Arthur Winnington-Ingram and Stanley Baldwin are also connected with Ribbesford.

In 1947 Wing Commander and Mrs Howell bought the property and converted it into private apartments and it remains in the ownership of the Howell family.

The buildings retain a number of stunning features.

These include original wood panelling in the Great Hall and sitting room, original doors, shutter and sash windows, sturdy oak beams – some of which date back to the 16th century – and a 19th century curved staircase.

Outside, the property features two octagonal towers which are capped by leaded onion domes.

The description goes on to say: “The gardens lie awaiting re-discovery by the new owner and previously boasted fine formal gardens with a fountain, rose gardens, a knot garden, ponds, a shrubbery and former tennis court among other wonderful features.”

For more information on the sale, contact Andrew Grant on 01905 734735.