Thirty elderly people at a Devon residential home have been told they have six months to leave because the home is being sold.
Flete and its grounds date back to before the Elizabethan era
The Country Houses' Association (CHA) has announced it is closing down its residential business and selling the eight Grade I and II listed buildings it owns.
They include Flete House near Modbury in Devon home to about 30 elderly people, some in their 80s and 90s.
The staff who look after them have been told they will be made redundant when the residents move out.
Each of the properties are elegantly furnished, often with antique furniture. Flete has been a manor house since Elizabethan times.
The residents are mainly retired professionals who paid deposits of up to £140,000 to rent the apartments.
Diana Clement, whose mother Lady Benda Milverton has been at Flete House for 24 years, said: "It's a catastrophe.
"My mother is 99 this week and this is worst news she could have had for her birthday.
"These are elderly people who have planned to spend the rest of their days there."
She added: "It's ironic isn't it, because you would have thought that providing accommodation for the elderly as the population gets older would be a growth area."
In a statement the CHA said the historic properties in Berkshire, Devon, Essex, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey, Sussex and Wiltshire would close by mid 2004 because of a falling demand for the apartments.
The statement said: "The decision to close was necessary due to falling demand for the particular serviced apartments offered, the increasing age-profile of the residents, the increasing regulations surrounding business and the significant level of losses that all of this has produced and is forecast to produce in the future."
The CHA is a friendly society with a charitable status, formed to preserve the country houses in its possession for the benefit of the nation.
They said the trustees could not use charity funds to support loss-making businesses with no future prospects.
A series of meetings are planned over the next few weeks to keep residents and staff informed about the situation.