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West Country farmer snaps up one of UK's most expensive houses

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: March 29, 2014

  • The Grade II-listed mansion, set in 1,324 acres of countryside at Cleobury Mortimer, near Kidderminster, has been maintained to a high standard and, among other things, has a games room, 12 bedrooms and nine bathrooms Pictures: SWNS

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A country estate has been sold for only the second time in 650 years after a wealthy farmer stumped up £16 million.

Shakenhurst Estate is a stunning Grade II-listed mansion set in 1,324 acres of English countryside.

On top of the 12-bedroom house, the estate comes with 15 farmhouses and cottages, almost three miles of trout fishing and a shoot.

The home, on the Worcestershire/Shropshire border, was put on the market with Knight Frank in May last year with the estate agency yesterday confirming a sale.

While they wouldn't reveal the final price, the estate is thought to have sold for around £16 million – making it one of the most expensive sales outside of the M25.

It is only the second time in its history the house has been sold, with Knight Frank describing the property as "a quintessential English sporting estate".

Instead of being bought by a wealthy foreign family as so many expensive UK homes currently are, Shakenhurst's new owners are the Staddons, a farming family from Devon.

They said: "Having to relocate, we knew the right place for us was somewhere which provided similar farming requirements within our scope.

"We were in search of a large number of acres of fertile arable land, the ability to rear quality livestock and accommodate a dairy unit, with the opportunity to expand and take on new challenges.

"Our list of objectives was hard to fulfil but the Shakenhurst Estate offered us what was needed. Having been a farming family for many generations, we hope that our new purchase will be the excellent foundations for many years to come."

The Staddons now own a Grade II-listed 18th century home has a staggering 17,000sq/ft of internal space.

It has 12 bedrooms, eight reception rooms and nine bathrooms – with the large rooms having high ceilings and plenty of Georgian period features, such as regency chimney pieces and moulded cornices and overdoors.

Outside are formal gardens, described as "a legacy of historic Elizabethan, Georgian and Victorian designs", as well as parkland, a lake, stabling and farm buildings. There is planning permission for a tennis court and swimming pool.

They also have more than 1,300 acres of land, a pheasant shoot and wild brown trout fishing on the River Rea.

In total, the properties which are included in the estate have 58 bedrooms.

Shakenhurst Estate, which is near Kidderminster, can be traced back to the Domesday Book when it belonged to Ralph de Toeni. In 1349, Edward III granted Shakenhurst to his vassal, John de Meysey for services rendered overseas.

It then stayed with the same family until 2010 when it was sold for the first time in its history. The owners then carried out an extensive restoration of the house and estate before selling it to The Staddon Family.

Knight Frank yesterday said the sale demonstrates a degree of confidence returning to the prime country market.

Data from the agency shows that prices in this area of the market increased by around 5.5 per cent during 2013 while the number of potential buyers registering an interest was up 16.1 per cent in 2013.

Clive Hopkins, head of Knight Frank's Farms and Estates team, said: "Shakenhurst is a wonderful residential, agricultural and sporting estate in the true sense of the word.

"There is tremendous potential to continue the amazing improvements the vendors have embarked on. Opportunities such as this are rare as demonstrated by the fact this is only the second time it has sold in 665 years."

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