Guernsey Press

Sausmarez Manor seigneur remains upbeat about season

SEIGNEUR Peter de Sausmarez is not letting Covid, pneumonia, sepsis, a heart attack or age slow him down, as the 81-year-old gears up for a busy summer season.

(Picture by Sophie Rabey, 31929727)

Mr de Sausmarez and his staff are stepping up their preparations for a busy spring and summer, with the first event of the year – the Manor Market – being held on Saturday.

A number of activities and attractions will be taking place over the warmer months, with guided tours of the main house, weddings, car rallies and other functions set to be held.

The manor train will be in operation from May, while the tea rooms, sub-tropical garden and children’s play area are already open.

Seigneur and owner Mr de Sausmarez said that he was appreciative of his staff’s efforts, particularly after he had gone through a period of serious illness last year.

‘Last summer I had Covid very badly, which brought on a severe bout of pneumonia and sepsis. I then had a heart attack in November. In total I spent about four and a half months in hospital.’

As a consequence of his ill health, Mr de Sausmarez had to learn how to walk again and do a number of basic tasks, which he said had been challenging.

‘Luckily there is a great team working here who keep things going, not least my long-term partner Rosina, who runs the main house’s activities,’ he said.

The grounds are primarily looked after by gardener Allan Robins, and Mr de Sausmarez said that he assisted with some of the planting.

‘Allan tends to all the big jobs, such as when some of the beech trees came down in the storm earlier in the year, as well as all the mowing and cutting. I will also mark out where I would like certain plants put, and he will dig the holes for them.’

The manor’s spring planting and weeding season is currently under way, and Mr de Sausmarez was aiming to have between 300 and 400 new plants in the ground by 17 April.

‘We’ve got ferns, bromeliads, banana trees and ginger to place, as well as some other tender plants keeping safe in the conservatory,’ he said.

The summer will see guided tours of the house start up again, and Mr de Sausmarez said that there would be up to a dozen guides on hand to share the manor’s storied history with visitors.

‘Usually I will recount to the guides the main facts about each element of the manor, and they will pick out what they think are the most interesting parts to tell to those visiting,’ he said.

The manor costs about £30,000 a year to run, with maintenance work on the house and grounds happening throughout the year.

‘We need to paint the back and the side of the main house this year, and we’ve already had to re-roof the toilet block,’ Mr de Sausmarez said.

He added that he was supportive of the new Tourism Management Board, which was formed by the States at the start of the year and is designed to work in partnership with the tourism industry.

‘It’s a wonderful step forward for tourism and the industry has high hopes for it.’