The Manor Studio

Coordinates: 51°50′44″N 1°18′18″W / 51.84556°N 1.30500°W / 51.84556; -1.30500
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The Manor Studios, 1990

The Manor Studio (a.k.a. the Manor) was a recording studio in the manor house at the village of Shipton-on-Cherwell in Oxfordshire, England, north of the city of Oxford.


The Manor and its outbuildings are listed Grade II on the National Heritage List for England.[1]

The Manor was the third residential recording studio in the United Kingdom. The first being Ascot Sound Studios built between 1970 and 1971 by John Lennon in an addition to his Tittenhurst Park mansion, where he recorded his Imagine album. The second being Rockfield Studios in Monmouthshire.[citation needed] The concept was pioneered in 1969 by French musician Michel Magne in the Château d'Hérouville.

The manor house was owned by Richard Branson and used as a recording studio for Virgin Records, although artists signed to other labels also used the studios. Tom Newman and Simon Heyworth assisted in its construction and worked on various albums at the studio.

The first officially released album to be recorded there, while the studio was still being given its finishing touches in late 1971, was Let's Make Up And Be Friendly, a farewell reunion album by members of the Bonzo Dog Band. The most famous album to be recorded there was perhaps Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield, during 1972–73 when Oldfield was given a week to record an LP at the studio. Vivian Stanshall, formerly of the Bonzo Dog Band, was recording his own first solo album there immediately afterwards, which led to his guest role as Master of Ceremonies on Tubular Bells.[2] Sandy Denny also began her second solo album Sandy there in March 1972.

In April 1995, after the takeover of Virgin Records by EMI, the Manor Studio was closed as a recording studio by EMI. It is now the country home of the Marquess of Headfort.

In 2010, NME reported that the Manor was up for sale for £5.75 million.[3]

Studio facilities[edit]

The Manor Studios control room in 1990 showing the SSL G series desk.

The facilities were advertised as follows, as of 1973:[4]

Partial list of albums recorded at the Manor[edit]


  1. ^ Historic England, "The Manor and attached outbuildings (1290378)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 2 December 2016
  2. ^ "Tubular Bells (M. Oldfield)". Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  3. ^ "'Tubular Bells' studio up for sale | News". Nme.Com. 6 June 2010. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  4. ^ Notes in 25th Anniversary Edition of Tubular Bells, 1998.

External links[edit]

51°50′44″N 1°18′18″W / 51.84556°N 1.30500°W / 51.84556; -1.30500