In a nod to both personal and British history, the couple wed in a church with deep ties to the bride's family
On an English island once favored by Queen Victoria, Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophie Hunter wed in a tasteful affair fit for a titled resident of Downton Abbey.
On Saturday, the duo exchanged vows at the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Mottistone, England. The location is a medieval church dating back to the 12th century.
Mottistone is located on the Isle of Wight, England’s largest island and the former home of famed poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson, as well as Queen Victoria, who built a summer residence there with her husband, Prince Albert.
“It’s a beautiful setting and very old English, very quaint and pretty,” a local tells PEOPLE of the church where they swapped vows on Valentine’s Day. “The church is not that big … I would say maybe 100 people maximum would fit in there.”
About 40 guests were seen arriving at the church Saturday along with several limousines around the Mottistone estate.
The couple did not use the church’s organist to play for the wedding. Locals confirmed that they didn’t use the church’s florist or a Mottistone baker.
Night Before the Wedding
The Isle of Wight County Press reports that the The Imitation Game actor and Oscar nominee, 38, spent Friday evening at the Royal Yacht Squadron in nearby Cowes, a prestigious yacht club that counts Queen Elizabeth II as a patron. Prince Philip serves as the club’s admiral, according to the squadron’s official website.
The private-members club is a roughly 30 minute drive from the church.
“It’s a private members club and very private so I’m sure it was perfect for him,” islander Ross Findon told PEOPLE.
Representatives for the Royal Yacht Squadron were not available for comment.
After the ceremony, the couple and their guests headed to a reception at adjacent Mottistone Manor, which is now owned by the country’s National Trust.
The 650-acre estate holds historical significance as it was first mentioned in Britain’s famed Domesday Book, a survey of England dating back to 1086. (Yes, you read that correctly.) The oldest parts of the home that currently stands on the estate date back to the 15th century.
“It’s a beautiful place and the gardens are very picturesque,” Findon who spotted the groom in nearby Cowes just last weekend, tells PEOPLE. “There are sprawling lawns surrounding by roses, a nearby woodland with a stunning bluebell meadow that is really special. It’s a very romantic little spot.”
A local tells PEOPLE Hunter’s family is related to the Nicholsons, who once owned Mottistone Manor and now live on the estate as tenants.
“Sophie is one of the Nicholsons, which is why they have chosen to have it here,” the local source says. “The Nicholson family used to own the manor until they sold it to the National Trust … It’s a beautiful house.”
Another local tells PEOPLE that Sophie’s great grandmother, also named Sophie, is the sister of first Lord Mottistone, General Jack Seely, the famous World War I hero and friend of Winston Churchill. Current tenant Lord Charles Nicholson has a house in Hampshire and not there all the time. His father used to live there permanently after he retired.
Yet in traditional British fashion, locals aren’t making a giant fuss about the couple’s hush-hush nuptials.
“Honestly people just aren’t that bothered about it, so there’s been no big ‘talk of the town’ or anything like that,” says the source.
However, the source says locals have spotted “deliveries coming and going” on “lorries” (that’s trucks to us Americans).
“The manor is right opposite the church so it will be very private,” the source adds, “which I’m sure was the intention.”
Well-dressed guests were seen making their way to the reception after the church ceremony. This included actor Tom Hiddleston, who was seen in traditional morning dress while walking alongside a woman in a red ensemble.
Cumberbatch’s Sherlock nemesis, Andrew Scott, was also spotted at the event. Other guests included Guy Garvey, the lead singer of Elbow, playwright Polly Stenham, actor Tobias Menzies and James Rhodes, a pianist and longtime friend of Cumberbatch.
One famous Brit who wasn’t there was Dame Judi Dench.
The actress, 80, was in London promoting her upcoming movie The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, says she hopes Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophie Hunter are having a “lovely day.”
Dench has known Cumberbatch since he was “tiny” as she was at Central School of Music and Drama with his mother. Talking as grey skies and showers hovered over London and the south of England, she tells PEOPLE, “I wish they’d had a better day. I hear it’s on the Isle of Wight – well, that’s lovely. I expect they’re having a lovely day anyway.”
• Reporting by MONIQUE JESSEN and HELEN HWANG