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Country home of former Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe up for sale

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 23, 2013

Jeremy Thorpe's  16th-century detached thatched cottage, near Umberleigh in North Devon,    is up for sale at  £590,000

Jeremy Thorpe's 16th-century detached thatched cottage, near Umberleigh in North Devon, is up for sale at £590,000

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The Westcountry home of former Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe is up for sale, for nearly £600,000.

The house, which dates back to the 16th century, is set in 1.5 acres of land in the hamlet of Cobbaton, near Umberleigh in North Devon.

With far-reaching views over the Taw Valley, the grade II-listed detached cottage also has a self-contained, two-bedroom annexe, which was formerly used by Mr Thorpe's second wife, Marion, an acclaimed concert pianist, as a music studio.

Mr Thorpe – who was leader of the Liberal Party during the late 60s and early 70s, and was MP for North Devon for 20 years – has owned the property for more than 40 years.

He became leader of the Liberal Party in 1967, having been elected to Parliament in 1959. But his political career was wrecked when, in 1971, former male model Norman Scott claimed that the pair had engaged in a homosexual relationship ten years previously, when such acts were illegal.

While a party inquiry exonerated Mr Thorpe, the scandal broke again five years later when Mr Scott claimed the politician had threatened to kill him if he spoke out about their affair.

In 1978, police arrested and charged Mr Thorpe with attempted murder and conspiracy to murder. He was subsequently acquitted at his trial at the Old Bailey but retired from public life, having lost his seat at the 1979 General Election.

He published his memoirs, In My Own Time, in 1999, which did not make any reference to the Norman Scott affair.

The property is being marketed by Fine and Country at South Molton, and has a guide price of £590,000.

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