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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Blighted Bassett

Robbie Williams’ Wiltshire estate for sale again for £2.6 million less than he paid for it

 

Singer Robbie Williams paid £8,100,000 for Compton Bassett House, near Calne in Wiltshire in 2008. In the years since he’s tried to sell it several times but even now that it has been relaunched for just £5,500,000, will it sell?

 

The original Compton Bassett House was a vast residence built by Sir John Weld in 1674. It was demolished in 1929 by Captain Sir Guy Benson, who decided to convert the stables of the property into a home in 1935.

 

Compton Bassett House, Compton Bassett, Calne, Wiltshire, SN11 8RE
Compton Bassett House, Compton Bassett, Calne, Wiltshire, SN11 8RE

An aerial shot of the house
An aerial shot of the house

The original Compton Bassett House was demolished in 1929
The original Compton Bassett House was demolished in 1929

Robbie and Ayda Willams
Robbie and Ayda Willams

 

The stable block, which took the name Compton Bassett House, subsequently passed through the hands various owners including Lord Foster. The acclaimed architect sold the house to a Mr John Pringle in 1992 whom then sold it to a couple named Paul and Selene Cripps in 2001. Each occupant carried out various alterations to the 18th century building and, according to The Country Seat blog, it is reported that Cripps alone spent some £3 million on the interior.

 

One of four vast reception rooms features a piano no doubt played by Robbie Williams
One of four vast reception rooms features a piano no doubt played by Robbie Williams

This swimming pool forms part of an extensive leisure complex
This swimming pool forms part of an extensive leisure complex

The Cripps’ put Compton Bassett House on the market at a price of £8,500,000 in 2007. Paul Cripps told The Times that he’d decided to sell because he and his wife were “fed up of having to get into the car for a paper or a pint of milk”. Said to be an “impulse purchase” on the part of the Take That singer in December 2008, Williams seemed pleased with his new home at first and said: “It’s lovely down there and the people have been great with us”.

 

Residents of Compton Bassett, however, were said not to be impressed with their new celebrity neighbour and the modifications that he made to the property. Amongst these were a full-sized football pitch and a dirt track for quad biking. One villager, Gemma Rochester, a barmaid at The White Horse public house, told the Daily Mail:

 

“It’s a close community and Robbie has never been part of it”.

 

In May 2010, just over a year after buying Compton Bassett House, Williams, by then engaged to his now wife actress Ayda Field, decided to sell and placed the estate on the market for £1,000,000 less than he paid for it with estate agents Savills. Of why he was selling, Williams explained:

 

“I can’t really afford to keep it. Maintenance is a lot. I’ve done a few impulse buys and it leaves you no money”.

 

At the time, an unnamed source told the Daily Mail:

 

Other facilities include a tennis court, football pitch and quad bike trail
Other facilities include a tennis court, football pitch and quad bike trail

The 71 acre plot includes landscaped gardens and woodland
The 71 acre plot includes landscaped gardens and woodland

“Robbie used the grounds for his own interests, not really considering the impact on the picturesque estate”.

 

“It is, though, no wonder they [Savills] haven’t been used in the pictures to sell the house in the magazine… After all, football pitches and dirt tracks don’t really appeal to your average Country Life reader with millions of pounds to lavish on an estate”.

 

Compton Bassett House did not sell and eventually Williams withdrew it from the market.

 

In May 2013, the 12th century church next door to Compton Bassett House was the scene of the marriage of Williams’ father, Pete Conway, to a South African charity fundraiser named Melanie Mills. According to The Wiltshire Gazette & Herald, police and private security staff prevented villagers from “getting in”.

 

At the beginning of this month, Xposé Entertainment also reported that Williams was using a “no-frills steel structure” in the grounds of Compton Bassett House to practice for his upcoming Take the Crown tour. Paul Beard, the tour’s musical director, commented:

 

“Robbie didn’t want to practice in stuffy, posh studios. The shed has a table tennis table, and Robbie and his band play games between rehearsals”.

 

In the same article, Williams revealed further information about his songwriting activities at the estate in a further comment about his having been testing out his new material on his baby daughter, Theodora ‘Teddy’ Rose, there:

 

“I wrote her a song called Go Gentle. I had a really lovely moment walking around the estate where we live with the baby, and I sang this very, very sincere song … And she threw up on me”.

 

“I don’t know if that is baby for: ‘That is amazing, dad’ or ‘I have just thrown up because you make me nauseous’”.

 

Plainly Williams isn’t getting quite enough inspiration at Compton Bassett House as he’s once again trying to sell. The brochure for the 71.55 acre estate lists the 150 foot long unlisted main house as having 19,913 square foot of internal floor space and featuring 4 reception rooms, 7 bedroom suites and a leisure complex with a gym, swimming pool, hot tub, steam room, sauna and changing rooms. In addition there is a detached cottage, two staff flats, garaging and a helicopter hangar.

 

Of this latest attempt to sell the property, Rupert Sweeting of Knight Frank, a joint agent with Strutt & Parker, told The Sunday Times:

 

“Robbie is spending so much time in LA that [the estate] is now surplus to requirements so he is very sadly selling it”.

 

Sweeting neglected to make reference to another reason for the sale and as to why the house is being marketed for £2,600,000 less than Williams for it. Compton Bassett House stands less than a mile away from a planned waste disposal facility which, if built, would process 235,000 tonnes of waste a year.

 

Equally, plans were recently approved for a 60 acre quarry development just two fields from Compton Bassett House by Wiltshire County Council according to the Daily Express. Of the approved plans, John Reis, a Compton Bassett parish councilor, stated:

 

“[We will] have an enormous numbers of lorries going through [the village] and they will be carrying sand and gravel. Mechanical diggers will be used to excavate and that would cause a lot of noise for those living nearby… This quarry is of enormous concern to everyone in the village… Robbie Williams [will] probably find it harder to sell his house – it looks right down onto the site”.

 

Comedian Michael McIntyre is a neighbour of Robbie Williams in Compton bassett
Comedian Michael McIntyre is a neighbour of Robbie Williams in Compton Bassett

The detrimental effects of the waste facility and proposed quarry, however, have not stopped other personalities purchasing properties in Compton Bassett. The comedian Michael McIntyre bought a property in the village in May 2013.

 

For more information on Compton Bassett House contact Luke Morgan of Strutt & Parker on +44 (0) 20 7629 7282 or email him at: luke.morgan@struttandparker.com.

 

Download the sales brochure for the house here.

 

 

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  1. People who become Lords are supposed to be acting in best interests of the country, not so they can buy big houses. I bet they were Tories

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