Any Harry Potter fans out there with £950,000 lying around (that’s approximately $1.5 million US) can now own the stunning 14th century half-timber cottage De Vere House in Lavenham, Suffolk, which just recently went up for sale. The Grade 1 listed building was used to create the fictional village Godric’s Hollow in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part One. It also served as the birthplace of both Harry Potter and his mentor and headmaster Albus Dumbledore, and is the house where Lily and James Potter died trying to protect their infant son Harry from Lord Voldemort and where Harry received his infamous lightening-bolt-shaped scar.
The new owner will have to not mind crowds though. The doorway at De Vere House, thanks to throngs of Harry Potter fans, has become one of the most photographed doorways in the UK second only to 10 Downing Street.
The current owners, Jane and Tony Ranzetta, have owned De Vere House for the past two decades, during which time they’ve lovingly restored the house and gardens, uncovering ornate decorations including carvings and medieval paintings. Inside the beautiful medieval building is a reception hall, drawing-room, dining room, kitchen/breakfast room, laundry room, three double bedrooms, two bathrooms and an attic room. There is also a five-star self-catering wing in De Vere House which features a reading room, sitting room, kitchen/breakfast room, shower room and two double bedroom suites.
The new owners of De Vere House will literally be stepping into the heart of film history. Current owner Jane Ranzetta said: “It’s part of Godric’s Hollow. The house can be seen opposite the graveyard, with a christmas tree in the window, the lights on and music coming out of it.” Various shots of the stunning house created the entire village of Godric’s Hollow in the film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part One. Owner Tony Ranzetta said: “It was really quite extraordinary watching both the filming and then the end result on-screen. The crew arrived without actors and filmed both the front and the back in the height of summer. Then they used parts of the house like pieces of a massive three dimensional jigsaw, cutting and pasting them to form the streets of Godric’s Hollow. They even made the final result a snow scene in winter, with a Christmas tree in our front window and carol singing coming from within the house.”
Whomever purchases De Vere House will be purchasing a slice of film history and a significant piece of British history. De Vere House has also been known throughout the centuries as the de Vere Hunting Lodge, Oxford House, and Oxford Cottages. It was once owned by the de Vere family from the 14th to 17th centuries. Historians believe that De Vere House’s extraordinary past even includes a visit from King Henry VII in 1498, as well as the remains of one of the last garde-robes to be installed in Britain, a rare and original medieval wall painting, and a magnificent front door-way.
Mrs. Ranzetta, a private tutor, said: ” We have been here for 22 or 23 years and it feels like the time has come for us to leave. I never think you own a house like this, you are just custodians and that is an honour.” The couple, who have a 15-year-old son, first stumbled upon the magical building more than two decades ago on a day trip to Lavenham. Mrs Ranzetta added: “We had seen the house several times and taken photos and thought, ‘What a lovely house,’ but also that it would never come on the market. A few months later we were looking for a property and we were sent details on De Vere House. It sounds cliché but we knew we wanted it as soon as we walked through the door.”
The house is located in the village of Lavenham, which is noted for its abundance of medieval half-timbered houses and cottages. Lavenham is one of the top twenty wealthiest settlements in England, as well as one of the most desirable villages in the UK. This, along with the use of the house in the Harry Potter films and its extensive history going all the way to back to the 14th century, is why the property has such a high asking price. But, the new owner will have to keep in mind that due to the property’s Grade 1 status any refurbishment or changes to the house, inside or out, will be closely monitored if allowed at all. With a pedigree like the De Vere House has, who would want to change a thing?
Click here to see the De Vere House in action as Godric’s Hollow in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part One on YouTube, courtesy of Warner Bros.