Thursday, May 21, 2015

News: Wentworth Woodhouse on the market

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Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham, the largest privately-owned house in Europe, has gone on the market with Savills plc with an asking price of in excess of £8m.

The Newbold family confirmed that they had decided to sell the historic Grade I listed mansion house at the end of last year.

The East Front of the house (pictured, top) measures 615 feet and its courts and buildings cover three acres or more of ground. It is thought to have 365 rooms but given its sheer size it is difficult to know what constitutes a corridor and what constitutes a room.

The estate extends to some 82 acres of gardens, parkland and woodland surrounded by the greater park and farmland of the Fitzwilliam Estate.

By agreement with the Newbold family, who bought the house for a reported £2m, the newly formed Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust (WWPT) began fundraising last year and raised pledges of £3.4m and prepared detailed plans for the future of the property. The trust aims to acquire the property if it can raise £7m. A further £42m needs to be spent on the fabric of the house over the next twelve to fifteen years to meet the backlog of repairs and subsidence damage.

Plans prepared for the trust include continuing to offer tours to the public which would be carried out by the National Trust, using the building for events, creating holiday lets and apartments for rent, and converting the stables for use by enterprising businesses.

Earlier this month, the Newbold Family announced the death of Mr Clifford James Newbold, the man who saved Wentworth Woodhouse and invested millions after acquiring it in 1999, later opening up to the public in 2012.

Now, Savills has begun advertising the property for sale, describing it as "one of the finest and grandest Georgian houses in England."
Wentworth Woodhouse is a symbol of the wealth and ambition of the Fitzwilliam family, with much of the wealth coming from the local coal mining operations that they owned. It actually includes two houses of totally different architectural styles, built by The First Marquess of Rockingham between 1725 and 1750. The west front of the house in the baroque style and the east front, over 600 ft long, in the later palladian style.

It includes notable rooms including the pillared hall, the marble saloon (pictured, above), the Whistlejacket Room, the Ante drawing room and Van Dyke room.

The West Front (pictured, below) contains the oldest elements of the house and the ground floor contains a suite of rooms which were formally part of the services area. On the first floor, where the Newbold family have apartments, include some very fine interiors from various periods and further state rooms. The agents point out: "Of particular note is the Long Gallery which has been beautifully restored by the present owners."

The south wing, known as "bedlam" due to its use by students, has lost much of its original character having been significantly adapted for use as Lady Mabel College.
The property also includes the impressive stable block, designed by John Carr, to provide the 84 racehorses owned Second Marquess of Rockingham with their own palatial surroundings.

A 1970s halls of residence, redundant teaching rooms and a swimming pool are also on site as are Camellia House, the 19th century glazed conservatory, the remaining gardens that are in need of full restoration and the impressive South Terrace.

New owners would also be taking on a lengthy multimillion pound legal battle with the Coal Authority, that should come to a head in 2016.

Wentworth Woodhouse website
Savills website

Images: Savills

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