Saturday, 23 May 2015 00:00

Mansion with 'finest view in England' offered for free (but there is a catch...)

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View of the world famous Vanbrugh bridge Photo: CarterJonas/BNPS View of the world famous Vanbrugh bridge Photo: CarterJonas/BNPS

Woodstock House has views over the Blenheim Palace estate, the birthplace of Winston Churchill, but needs £3 million of repairs.

An historic manor house with "the finest view in England" is being offered for free - although it does need £3 million of repairs.

The 300-year-old private home overlooking the Blenheim Palace estate is being offered to any tenant who can afford to spend £3 million over the next 20 years restoring it to its former glory.

Woodstock House is the largest private residence on the 2,000-acre Oxfordshire estate, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. The wartime leader’s mother, Lady Randolph Churchill, declared the views from the three-storey manor across to the palace, gardens landscaped by Capability Brown, and the Grand Bridge designed by Sir John Vanbrugh, to be the finest in England. Woodstock House dates from the early 18th century and is the largest private residence on the 2,000-acre Oxfordshire estate.
 It boasts a grand hall, four reception rooms, eight bedroom suites, a kitchen, cellars and outbuildings including a coach house and stable block, set in 3.5 acres of walled gardens.

Much of its original features remain including 12-pane sash windows, a galleried staircase hall, original interior panelling and panelled doors, flagstone flooring and a Regency Doric-style entrance porch.

The 20-year lease is available free of charge providing that the tenant commits to renovating the manor. The property needs a complete overhaul inside and out that is expected to cost £3 million.

Once it is restored, the tenant will be free to live in the property for the remainder of the 20-year lease, but will not be allowed to sublet it. Property consultants estimate that it could eventually fetch £25,000 a month on the rental market. They said the property had consent for an extension to create an indoor swimming pool and had room for tennis courts.

Mark Charter, of the Oxford branch of Carter Jonas, said: “The financial challenges of estate management make it increasingly difficult for some of the country’s most prestigious estates to maintain the upkeep of the very best properties in their residential portfolios.” He described the challenge of restoring the property as a “rare opportunity” for someone with a true appreciation of the historical significance of the estate.

“Once refurbished it would readily let at £25,000 per calendar month and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if competition amongst those intent on bringing this house back to life will push the [eventual] price beyond all expectations,” he added.

Nick Cox, a local architect who has worked on projects at Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire, has drawn up plans for the restoration.

Blenheim Palace, a reward for the military triumphs of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, was built in the early-1700s. It is the only non-royal or non-episcopal residence in the country to hold the title of palace.

Winston Churchill was born at the palace in 1874 and it was in its gardens that he proposed to Clementine Hozier in 1908. In 1987 the palace was designated a Unesco World Heritage Site and today plays host to 650,000 visitors a year.

Blenheim Palace was built in the early 1700s and is the ancestral home of the Dukes of Malborough.

It is the only non-Royal residence in the country to hold the title of palace.

Churchill was born at the palace on November 30 1874 and it was in its gardens that he proposed to Clementine Hozier in 1908.

Read 1282 times Last modified on Saturday, 23 May 2015 14:36


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