(Ms. Soar’s wry wit sometimes earns its own reaction: One guest reported that she said their luggage “looked like a body bag.”)
Some people just “have the wrong expectations,” Mr. Soar said. “We don’t have waiters serving cocktails.”
When guests are replaced by film crews looking for authentic medieval ambience, “it is intrusive but lucrative,” Mr. Soar said. The last major production to take over the house, he said, was the forthcoming Disney+ series “The Ballad of Renegade Nell,” which brought in dozens of extras, as well as carriages, horses, chickens and goats.
“You have to turn a blind eye concerning your property,” he said. “If they want to use the drawing room, it will get painted a different color, the fixtures and fittings all go. You can’t be precious at all.”
When Covid arrived, almost all of the Soars’ revenue streams were interrupted. They couldn’t even sell their meat and cider to restaurants, which were closed. They managed to keep the farm shop and bakery operating.
The estate also has a licensed cafe, which is run by a neighbor.
“Although we live nearby, we didn’t know about the manor at all, so it was a nice surprise,” said Robbie Elliott, who began overseeing the cafe with his wife, Rachel, in December. They live in the nearby village of Haddenham, a couple of miles away.