American visitors will be especially interested in this small mid-16th-century Tudor manor, the ancestral home of George Washington. As part of a plan to dissolve the monasteries, Henry VIII sold the priory-owned manor in 1539 to Lawrence Washington, who had been mayor of Northampton. The Washington family occupied Sulgrave for more than a century, but in 1656, Colonel John Washington left for the New World. Born in Virginia, George Washington was a direct descendant of Lawrence (seven generations removed).
A group of English people bought the manor in 1914 in honor of the friendship between Britain and the United States. Appropriate furnishings and portraits, including a Gilbert Stuart original of the first president, have been donated from both sides of the Atlantic. The Washington family coat of arms on the main doorway -- two bars and a trio of mullets -- is believed to have been the inspiration for the Stars and Stripes.