EXCLUSIVE – “Nationally important” Grade II* listed Berkshire mansion in 130 acres for sale for £26 million; its interior is yet to be renovated
A Grade II* listed building capable of being reinstated as one of Britain’s finest country houses has just been placed on the market for £26 million.
Benham Park – formerly known as Benham Vallence – at Marsh Benham, near Newbury comes with around 130 acres of Grade II listed Capability Brown (1716 – 1783) designed parkland and currently extends to 27,620 square foot. It has planning permission in place to either revert to a truly epic single family mansion or to convert into a 100 bedroom ‘wellness centre’ to rival Champneys in Hertfordshire and Clinique La Prairie in Switzerland. The schemes proposed would provide between 50,000 and 140,000 square foot of accommodation and, already, businessmen Harry Marriott and Michael Fresson, owners since 2011, have restored the exterior of the building along with its gardens and park.
Built at the behest of the nobleman William Craven (1738 – 1791) to designs of the Fulham born architect Henry Holland (1745 – 1806) in 1774 – 1775, this fine neoclassical house was constructed from Bath stone and later altered by the extremely wealthy Sutton baronets during their tenure in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The estate was sold for £1 million to the innovative computer manufacturers Norsk Data in 1983 and remained in the firm’s ownership until it was dissolved in 1992. It then became the offices of other technology companies until again being placed for sale for £6 million in 2010.
Should a buyer use the existing designs for a residential scheme, they would find themselves owning a house that would not only come with 12 reception rooms and 29 bedroom suites, but also one with a sports complex, a sculpture gallery, a 40-seat cinema and garaging for 50 cars. Aside from an existing 5-bedroom mill house on the estate’s 10 acre lake and a gate lodge, the proposals would add a further 8 additional ancillary houses also.
Of Benham Park, Crispin Holborow of selling agent Savills commented:
“[This] is a nationally important stately home so its sale presents a very exciting proposition for a future owner to oversee its transformation. The prospect of restoring a property of such magnificent proportions with excellent access to London has not arisen for many years, and we expect interest from potential buyers for either its reinstatement as a significant country residence or its repurpose into a world leading wellness centre”.
Those looking to extend the compound further have the option to purchase two separately owned properties that were formerly part of the estate. A house known as ‘Greenhouses’, for sale with Savills, is offered for £1.3 million and comes with 1.47 acres of land whilst Mill Bank House, which stands in 2 acres, is on the market through Strutt & Parker.
The Numbers – Benham Park
1771 – 1774
William Craven, 6th Baron Craven paid Capability Brown £7,150 for works to the house and grounds. This sum is the equivalent of £989,000 today ($1.3 million, €1.1 million or درهم4.7 million).
Sold to Norsk Data for £1 million (the equivalent of £3.2 million, $4.1 million, €3.7 million or درهم15.1 million today) by Sir Richard Sutton (born 1937).
Placed on the market for £6 million ($7.7 million, €6.9 million or درهم28.3 million).
Sold to Harry Marriott and Michael Fresson for £5 million ($6.4 million, €5.7 million or درهم23.6 million).
Benham Park placed on the market for £26 million ($33.4 million, €29.9 million or درهم123 million).
Separately owned estate houses
Mill Bank House – On the market for £1.4 million ($1.8 million, €1.6 million or درهم6.6 million).
Greenhouses – On the market for £1.3 million ($1.7 million, €1.5 million or درهم6.1 million).
Putting my property professional head on, this is a house with “great bones”. It had a tough time in the 1980s and 1990s but now it could be wonderful again. Of the various designs I’ve seen, the John Simpson Architects ones (http://www.johnsimpsonarchitects.com/pa/Benham-Park.html) are the finest. I think the ones in the brochure a little pedestrian and the size is far too big also. Once finished, this will be comparable, in fact far superior, to Park Place, also In Berkshire (https://statelyhomes.wordpress.com/2012/01/01/house-sales-review-for-2011/) – that sold for £140 million in 2011 and is not nearly as striking. I could see this becoming one of Britain’s most expensive ever country homes and with good reason.
Yolanda….you are in property.
You are not in a profession.
Damn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You beat me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Harry Marriott plainly likes having fun with wrecking balls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I remember when you did the story on another place he bulldozed and rebuilt – http://thesteepletimes.com/ashes/ He did better first time round though as he completely bulldozed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He didn’t knock enough of this place down yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!! More swinging please!!!!!!!!!!!! Crash that ball!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What an amazing transformation. Lovely to see it as it is. I hope they don’t build the extensions. It doesn’t need them.
It should be gifted to the National Trust by Mr Marriott. Doesn’t he already have enough with his Tangley House estate?
It’s always impoverished and irritating old dears like the Welsh bore, Ethel who can’t stop giving advice.
It’s actually quite ordinary and unattractive.
Oh Peter, thank goodness I don’t know you. Leave Ethel alone.
I like the idea of having space for 50 cars. I bet Jeremy Clarkson will approve of that too.
I take your point, Ethel, that Britain doesn’t want to lose treasures like this, and it would be good to have them become, officially, national treasures. It’s a bit unrealistic, I would have thought, though, to expect someone to hand over 26 million pounds plus several million for maintenance, just because it would make a nice gift. Don’t know how much Mr Marriott is worth but even if it’s hundreds of millions, that would be exceptionally generous.
I worked for Norsk Data up until 2004, from Benham Vallence.
I left but the place was still in business.
The idea that It dissolved in 1992 is simply not true.
My maternal grandparents Bill & Tilly worked at Benham for Sutton family. They met there, married and lived on the estate until passing in the early 90’s.
I have recently been inside this building and I can tell that there is nothing remotely old or prestigious about the place. In fact the only thing stopping it blowing away is the stone exterior, all the internal walls when tapped make it sound like a very poorly constructed wimpey house, on a bad day!! Complete sham of a place and needs some serious money spent on it, such a shame.