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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

A feudal manor

Dorset mansion built by Bastards that has been the setting of a bitter familial feud for sale for the first time since 1846


The Prince of Wales is said to have considered purchasing the Chettle House estate in Dorset before he plumped for Highgrove and now, in the wake of an agreement to cease legal proceedings against one another, brother and sister Patrick Bourke and Susan Favre have placed part of their 1,200-acre estate on the market for £3.95 million ($6.1 million or €5.6 million).


A feudal manor - Chettle House, Chettle, Blandford Forum, Dorset, DT11 8DB
A feudal manor – Chettle House, Chettle, Blandford Forum, Dorset, DT11 8DB

A feudal manor - Chettle House, Chettle, Blandford Forum, Dorset, DT11 8DB
Susan Favre, Teddy Bourke and Patrick and Jan Bourke at Chettle House in 1994


Featuring a total of 16,571 square foot of accommodation in the main house and apartments and spread over four floors, the siblings are selling Chettle House with 117 acres of gardens, parkland and woodland. The current main Grade I listed house dates to circa 1710 and was built by the Bastard brothers of nearby Blandford.


Described as “the plum amongst Dorset houses of the early 18th century and nationally outstanding as a specimen of English Baroque” by Pevsner, the Bourke family became owners of the estate – which also includes the village of Chettle and The Castleman Hotel – in 1846. It passed through the family without incident for generations but in the wake of the 2011 death of Teddy Bourke, his “blunt headmistressy type” sister went to court with her other brother, Patrick, and his son over the estate’s ownership. Legal fees for their respective cases are estimated to have exceeded £100,000 ($155,000 or €141,000).


A feudal manor - Chettle House, Chettle, Blandford Forum, Dorset, DT11 8DB
The house features an impressive staircase

A feudal manor - Chettle House, Chettle, Blandford Forum, Dorset, DT11 8DB
There are also numerous entertaining spaces

A feudal manor - Chettle House, Chettle, Blandford Forum, Dorset, DT11 8DB
The 117 acre estate includes gardens and parkland

A feudal manor - Chettle House, Chettle, Blandford Forum, Dorset, DT11 8DB
The sale also includes what the selling agent Strutt & Parker terms the “enchanting” Keeper’s Cottage

A feudal manor - Chettle House, Chettle, Blandford Forum, Dorset, DT11 8DB
A site plan of the estate


Unsurprisingly little mention is made of this “vicious and long-running family feud” in the selling agent Strutt & Parker’s brochure. A short paragraph towards the end, however, states that any buyer will have to pay a deposit of £500,000 ($775,000 or €705,000) on exchange that will enable the vendors “to fund an onward purchase”.



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  1. It’s beautiful and though it has been converted into flats, with a little work it could once again be what I’d term a truly lovely family home.

  2. I truly hope the wasteful owners will donate a portion of the sale price to the Find Madeleine fund. Dear Gerry and Kate McCann would appreciate this very much and it would put right their feuding ways. I do think it shameful that The Steeple Times and Matthew Steeple are not doing more to support the efforts of this courageous couple. An article supporting Gerry and Kate would be far more useful. FIND MADELEINE. FIND MADELEINE NOW.

  3. Highgrove is a super gentleman’s residence……this house is exquisite – truly breath taking – but it’s that bit too far to be practical geographically, even by helicopter, as not all his guests will be ‘ helicoptered up ‘

  4. I grew up there in The Old Garage just to the right of Chettle House before we moved to the Castleman Hotel & Restaurant (then derelict). The tourists were an inconvenience as we weren’t allowed to play in the garden during peak summer! Special place and heart breaking that they couldn’t keep the estate together. The surrounding village that forms part of the estate sticks together like glue and this won’t suit a buyer who isn’t down to earth and sensitive to that communal spirit. Keep it special and welcoming to all or you’ll find yourself a pariah!


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