Crime writer Peter James puts his £2.85 million Sussex house up for sale

Crime writer Peter James has put his £2.85 million Sussex home - which inspired many of his best-selling novels - on the market.

But the author admits it’s something of a wrench to leave the house - The Old Rectory at Woodmancote near Henfield - after living happily in the grand Victorian property with his wife Lara, and a plethora of pet animals, for the past nine years.

“I’ve always felt that, for any writer, we tend to write best about what we know,” said Peter. “I love this place. It’s a very happy house.

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“When I’ve been house-hunting in so many places over the years, I’ve looked around and feel the atmosphere and think ‘I couldn’t write here.’

The Old Rectory at Woodmancote near Henfield is being sold by best-selling author Peter James SUS-200904-154149001

“I just knew The Old Rectory was inspiring, it had an incredibly welcoming atmosphere the moment we first walked in.”

And the four-bedroom property, which additionally has a self-contained flat in the basement, also has a number of personal touches that Peter has introduced. He had an office built - where he writes his novels - above a four-car garage where he, as a self-confessed petrolhead, stores some of his beloved cars.

He also had purpose-built shelving installed in the library to house his many books. And he has converted part of his office into a museum to display the many items of police memorabilia given to him by police officers all over the world.

The house also has a cinema and wine cellar - “my other great passion” - a gym, sauna, pool house, swimming pool, tennis court, lake and paddocks which have been home to Peter’s collection of alpacas, emus, pygmy goats, 20 hens, 24 runner ducks, three dogs and two cats.

Crime writer Peter James

The property, set in 7.68 acres of land, also includes a dining room, sitting room, kitchen-breakfast room, family room, conservatory and three bathrooms as well as the four bedrooms.

The conservatory, with a bar and stools, has been used by Peter and Lara as a ‘party room’. “When Lara and I got married in 2015 we had a theme of the Mexican Day of the Dead. People gave us skulls and that sort of thing which we have in the party room which we call the ‘scullery’ in a humorous not macabre way,” said Peter.

The Old Rectory has featured in many of Peter’s novels featuring the Brighton-based crime-fighting detective Roy Grace.

He has sold more than 20 million books and written 13 UK number one best-sellers.

The library of The Old Rectory at Woodmancote SUS-200904-154321001

And, although living in Jersey, Peter says that Sussex remains close to his heart. “We’re planning to buy a flat on Brighton seafront as our UK base. I love Brighton and was born and raised there. Brighton is so ingrained in my soul and the city has been so good to me.

Peter previously lived in Ditchling and in Beddingham, near Lewes.

The Old Rectory is being sold through agents House Partnership.

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