Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Country craziness

The somewhat limited multi-million country property market

This morning’s “Richard Kay” column in the Daily Mail provides further illustration of the craziness of the British property market in a report on the sale of The Crichel Estate in Dorset.

Crichel House, Moor Crichel, Dorset and St Mary's Church

Priced at £150,000,000, a figure that if achieved would be Britain’s most expensive sale, Crichel includes 5,000 acres of land, four villages, a cricket club, a church, a magnificent mansion and 100 tied workers.

Mary Anna Marten OBE (1929 – 2010) with her husband Lieutenant-Commander Toby Marten. Marten was best known for her successful fight with Churchill’s government to return land nationalised during the Second World War.

The estate is currently owned by the children of Mary Anna Marten, who died in 2010, and it is suggested that the reason it has failed is because they included so many stipulations. Unlike other sellers who openly seek out the likes of Roman Abramovich and his adversary Boris Berezovsky, the Martens will not sell to oligarchs and are also said to have also shunned advertising. An offer of £113,000,000 was rejected and after two years on the market, this stunning property appears to be one giant white elephant.

Solaris, Banks Road, Sandbanks, Poole, Dorset

A search on unsurprisingly reveals no details for Crichel but the most expensive property in Dorset is a £9,750,000 beachfront house at Sandbanks named Solaris. For sale through the Tailor Made Estate Agency, Solaris includes 5 bedrooms and an indoor leisure complex.

Eclipse, Exbury, Southampton, Hampshire

At £12,000,000, Knight Frank offer a similarly modern property named Eclipse close to Southampton. Set in 26 acres and boasting extensive frontage to the River Beaulieu, this vast 5 bedroom property features an indoor swimming pool, a cinema and media room, a 40 metre hard jetty, a 3 bedroom lodge and a helicopter hangar. The price plainly has been off putting however: Eclipse has been on the market since September 2010.

Eclipse’s waterfront setting on the Beaulieu River

For those seeking something more akin to The Crichel Estate, Carter Jonas offer the 800 acre Askham Richard estate near York at a price of £6,500,000. Though lacking a true main house, this property produces a gross rental income of some £155,000 per annum from Farm Business tenancies and 14 let residential properties. Currently “under offer,” Askham Richard has potential, say the agents, for “rental uplift” and “development opportunities.”

Parbold Hall, Parbold, Lancashire

In Lancashire, Savills is selling The Parbold Hall Estate on behalf of Sir Peter Moores, a member of the Littlewoods dynasty. Standing in 865 acres, this “traditional English landed estate” centres around a 9 bedroom country house overlooking the Douglas Valley. Moores is selling after 53 years as he wants to move “somewhere where I can walk to Tesco.” A guide price of £9,500,000 has been set.

The most expensive country house, and one of which I’ve written previously, on currently though is the £13,500,000 The Manor House at Stoke Poges. In terms of publicly available estates, however, the highest priced is The Brecon Estate in Wales. With 1,593 acres, this vast farming estate includes 8 let farms with 8 houses, 6 further cottages and what the agents describe as “first rate shooting.”

The vast Brecon Estate

Billionaires and oligarchs seeking country properties in Britain plainly, it seems, face not only hurdles placed by protective sellers but also a lack of availability. Unlike the London market where there are many properties priced at over £15,000,000, finding a true gem in the country plainly is much harder.

For more information on Solaris, contact Tailor Made on +44 (0) 1202 706606 or email More details can be viewed at:

For more information on Eclipse, contact James Crawford of Knight Frank on +44 (0) 20 7861 1065. For details, go to:

For more information on The Askham Richard Estate, contact Carter Jonas on +44 (0) 1904 238229. More details can be viewed at:

For more information on The Parbold Hall estate, contact Savills on +44 (0) 1625 417450 or email More details can be viewed at:

For more information on The Brecon Estate, contact Anthony Mayell of Fisher German on +44 (0) 1905 453275 or email More details can be viewed at:


Roderick McKay said...

One word: overpriced.

New homes in Dorset said...

Turned down an offer of £113 million!!! And still hope for a sale????

Matthew Steeples said...

The vendors of this estate plainly are in no hurry to sell but their stipulations and attitude to offers is plainly ludicrous.