Monday, April 22, 2024

A manageable mansion

The sale of the £20 million Bletchingdon Park, Oxfordshire


Bletchingdon Park House in Oxfordshire is one of those classic Palladian villas that would make the perfect setting for a period drama. Unlike vast Jacobean mansions like Highclere Castle, better known as Julian Fellowes’ Downton Abbey, however, Bletchingdon is of a far more manageable size.


The facade of Bletchingdon Park, Bletchingdon, Kidlington, Oxfordshire, OX5 3DW
The staircase hall
A formal reception room
The grounds of Bletchingdon Park

This Grade II* listed Georgian house, built for Lord Valentina in 1782, may be some 24,600 square foot in size, but it has a layout that makes it both practical for living and suitable for entertaining on a grand scale. The accommodation, which has been renovated by the renowned building company Symm, includes 9 bedrooms and suites, well-proportioned formal reception rooms and a garden floor with further reception rooms, a billiards room and a fitness room with spa.


Whilst the original stable block has been sold off and converted to residential accommodation, Bletchingdon Park includes 2 staff flats, a 2-bedroomed lodge cottage and a further 3-bedroomed cottage. With parkland and grounds extending to 127 acres, maintaining Bletchingdon’s plot is large, but easily maintained.


Dr Michael Peagram with Albert II, Prince of Monaco and Prince Andrew, The Duke of York
The former stables of Bletchingdon Park were sold off some years ago and have been converted into a number of homes

In the 20th century Bletchingdon was owned by Lord Astor and then Lord Rotherwick. The current owner, Dr Michael Peagram, purchased the estate in 1993. Peagram made his fortune in the chemicals industry after having led a management buyout of Huddersfield based Holliday Chemicals Holdings (HCH) in 1987. He revitalised the business, expanded into new markets and floated the company in 1993. The business was ultimately sold to Yule Catto for £225 million in 1997 and in 2001 Peagram sold another company for a reported £44 million.


At this point, this scientist turned tycoon moved to Monaco and saved himself, according to a 2009 Daily Mail article by Piers Morgan, some £13 million in capital gains tax. A wise businessman and a supporter of David Cameron, Peagram’s modus operandi is:


“Winning with honour and playing by the rules… And not cheating.”


In an interview with Monaco’s NeXt Generation Entrepreneur Forum, he states that he “did lots of work” to achieve his success but admits to “being a romantic at heart.” He has used much of his fortune to fund the philanthropic activities of Outward Bound Monaco with Prince Andrew, The Duke of York and Albert II, Prince of Moanco.


Peagram placed Bletchingdon Park on the market in May 2012 at a price of £20 million. Of why it hasn’t sold, one blogger commented that a footpath runs close to the house and that there is a lack of leisure facilities and outbuildings. Somehow neither seem insurmountable and whoever purchases this fine residence will be a very lucky man. If I were Dr Peagram, though, I’d keep it.


Bletchingdon Park, Bletchingdon, Kidlington, Oxfordshire, OX5 3DW is for sale through Knight Frank. For further details contact Damian Gray on +44 (0) 20 7629 8171 and to download a brochure go to:



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  1. I recall shooting with Michael when Bletchingdon Shoot was running a few years ago. The shoot used his and a couple of neighbouring landowners land and might be easily ressurected. Afterwards Michael kindly invited the guns to an excellent supper afterwards in the wonderful dining room, with the main course cooked by mein host.

  2. I have lived in Bletchington all of my life and can honestly say I never met Mr Peagram once! Back in the early 80’s the house was used as an English Language School and my mother worked there. I spent numerous school holidays there helping the maintenance man with the up keep of the place. I have to say that Mr Pegram has done an excellent job in retoring it to what it is now.

  3. I have lived in Bletchington all of my life and can honestly say I never met Mr Peagram once! Back in the early 80’s the house was used as an English Language School and my mother worked there. I spent numerous school holidays there helping the maintenance man with the up keep of the place. I have to say that Mr Pegram has done an excellent job in restoring it to what it is now.

  4. Wow! I began my career as an English teacher there in 1978 for 2 years and we taught in the stables during busy summer periods. I am grateful for the start there that took me all over the world to carry light and love. It seems as this the house has been restored since then but it is a pity it cannot be enjoyed by a larger group of people such as it was when it was a school. Sad to hear that there was a hunt there and I send love and healing to all of the living beings around there. Sad too to think that the fortune was made in chemicals when the world is now in need of much relief from chemicals and a return to love and nature and respect for everything on earth. And sad too to think that businessmen go away to avoid taxes when there could be support for helping each other. May we bring in a time when all of these things no longer exist and there is respect for the animals like foxes, respect for natural ways of being and chemicals no longer prison our environment and a time when the beauty and harmony of this place can be treasured and admired by many who are conscious of the need to keep this harmony and beauty. Hello, Bill. No elation. I remember the two men who worked there. a Bill was one of them but I am guessing not you. Love to everyone who lives around this stunning place.

  5. I played rugby with Michael for Huddersfield YMCA in the early 80’s before he made his millions. He was a polite man and mixed well with all members of the team who were from all walks of life. I am happy that he has been so successful.

  6. I am his grandson. The inside of his house is sick it has like a gym, swimmin pool cinema ect. I also got lost in it its that big. And im off to monaco soon. Yeessss lads

  7. I was a student there in 1977. It was a fun place although I was one of only two kids at the time and all other students were adults so there were no sports and I had tke due with whatever activity I created for myself. The school even had a full commercial bar inside. I used to go for a run and long walks on the grounds everyday by myself. There was a church on the estate that was closed that year but opened the next year as I heard. The stables had a couple of horses and a white pony but the horses were not that exactly prime. There was a tennis court in an enclosed area with high brick walls and there also a tiny unsusable open air swimming pool, which obviously is not the one pictured above. The main house was in fair condition and owned at the time by an Iranian national call Araboff who was living in Iran and was managing the property and the school by his accountant Mister Fatemi. The principal of the school was Dr. Garetty. Head administrator was a young Mrs. Parry.

  8. Since the stable block is no longer part of the estate, what options would one have to keep a few horses on the property and enjoy riding them?

  9. What, no mention of Mr John Patterson, the previous owner to Mr Peagram? John was the charasmatic entrepreneur who developed the concept of computer dating in 1966. The founder of a Dateline, the UK’s first computerised introduction agency. John’s legacy should not be underestimated, he brought thousands of couples together during his lifetime and many successful spin-off businesses still operating today owe him a debt of gratitude and acknowledgement.
    John and his family were exceptionally kind to me. Whilst I was relocating my young family back to Oxfordshire I spent five months as a guest in their wonderful home. The Dateline business had offices in London but some parts of the operation were carried out from the ‘Garden Room’ on the lower floor of the house. There was a wonderful atmosphere around the house, always something going on, and I have some great memories of my time spent at Bletchingdon Park. A memorial stone for John can be found in the churchyard adjoining the estate.

  10. I was there is summer of 1975 with Kharazami School Tour from Iran for Summer English classes during the day while boarding with English families in Kidlington, Oxford shire. I do remember Dr. Garetty and Miss Parry. Also, Mr. Kamal who was the English teacher from Iran who was our chaperone. We were many students at the time though.

    • I was there in 1976 when I was 15 years old. Wonderful place to learn English. I will never forget that castle. Thanks.

  11. I was a student there in 1978 when I was 16. It is a wonderful place. My classmates were from Spain, Brazil, Greece, Germany, Iran, Israel, Libya with unforgettable memories. The best part was that we stayed with English families in Kidlington, living with the original English culture, the Milliards and the Francises. They were very patient and understanding. I wish I could see them again. We used to play soccer on the very front lawns pictured above and have chicken for lunch four times a week in the school’s canteen!!! and have fights with local youth gangs in the streets. Our English teachers were the best, among them Nick and Pauline who was from New Zealand. what a pity it isn’t a school any more. I always dream of returning back there.

  12. I was studying there in the 1987/88 academic year. It was a Spanish school. My host home was in Risinghurst-Headington and then I moved to Marston. Unforgettable days in Oxfordshire.


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