White elephant country house in Wiltshire belonging to Robbie Williams back on the market for knockdown price after he describes it as “creepy.”
If you could cope with having the unctuous so-called ‘comedian’ Michael McIntyre as a near neighbour and fancy moving into a bargain mansion – with several catches – currently owned by the popstar Robbie Williams, you might have found your dream residence in the £6.75 million Compton Bassett House, near Calne in Wiltshire.
Described in May 2010 as an example of “how to lose money on a country house” by Matthew Beckett in his blog The Country Seat, the problem with Compton Bassett House is that it is situated in a village which ‘boasts’ not only a somewhat stinky recycling facility, but also a site where a 60-acre quarry could be built just two fields away.
Featured in The Steeple Times when he and his wife, Ayda, tried to sell it in June 2013 for the vastly knocked-down price of £5.5 million – the singer had paid £8.1 million for it in December 2008 prior to his marriage in August 2010 – the vast 19,913 square foot main house was originally constructed as a coach house to the adjoining then mansion – which was at the time called Compton Bassett House.
Converted to a residence in 1935 after the main house to which it was attached was demolished in 1929, the current “remarkable period house, recently to restored to an exemplary standard” – according to the rather over-enthusiatic selling agents Knight Frank – consists of 4 reception rooms, 3-bedroom suites and 4 additional bedrooms. There are also two staff flats and a cottage whilst “leisure facilities” number a 73-foot swimming pool, hot tub, tennis court and grass football pitch.
Standing in 71.55 acres of gardens, grounds, paddocks and woodland, the property also has a helicopter hangar, garaging and a workshop, yet of this supposed rural idyll in February this year, the Take That Star told a podcast:
“It gives me the creeps. Teddy [his son] told me, ‘That room scares me. I don’t like that house.’”
“I said, ‘It scares me too. You don’t have to sleep there anymore.’ If there is great grief or great pain or tragedy, I think it can soak into the walls and leave an essence there that remains for a very, very long time.”
“[It] has been the perfect escape for our family. The gardens and trees have enchanted us with their magic, and on rainy days – of which there are many in England – we have played and splashed around the indoor pool, much to our delight.”
Talking to Country Life, the couple themselves enthused: “It is most definitely a family friendly house that deserves to have much more laughter and joy within its beautiful walls. We hope the incoming purchaser will enjoy just as much as we have.”
Going further of the supposedly “creepy” crib, the unnamed agent concluded:
“Although our clients are sad to be leaving, they’re certain that the next owners will love it as much as they have. The house has the benefit of being on the edge of the village but also has beautiful gardens, and grounds surrounding it providing complete privacy and protection.”
Mr and Mrs Williams are said to be selling, on this particular occasion, after having “never really felt at home there,” the Mirror reported in February. At the time, a source told the paper:
“They’re both really excited to have found exactly the lifestyle they were looking for in Switzerland. They’ve been there for less than a year but the children are settled in schools and they all love the calm, family vibe they’ve got going on there.”
September 2021 – For sale for £6.75 million ($9.23 million, €7.87 million or درهم33.89 million) through Knight Frank, a sum 17% lower than was paid for it in December 2008.
June 2013 – For sale for significantly reduced price of £5.5 million ($7.5 million, €6.4 million or درهم27.6 million), a sum 32% lower than was paid for it in December 2008.
May 2010 – Placed on the market by Robbie Williams for £7.1 million ($9.7 million, €8.3 million or درهم35.6 million), a sum 12% lower than was paid for it in December 2008.
December 2008 – Sold to Robbie Williams for £8.1 million ($11 million, €9.4 million or درهم40.6 million). Of it, at the time, he remarked: “It’s lovely down there and the people have been great with us.”
2007 – Put on the market by Mr and Cripps for £8.5 million ($11.6 million, €9.9 million or درهم42.7 million). At the time, 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.”
2001 – Sold to a couple named Paul and Selene Cripps, who are said to have spent £3 million ($4.1 million, €3.5 million or درهم15 million) changing the interior.
1992 – Sold to a Mr John Pringle by Lord Foster of Thames Bank, as he later became in 1999.
Early 1990s – Extensively altered by the architect Sir Norman Foster.
1935 – Converted from stables into a home by Captain Sir Guy Benson after the original Compton Bassett House was demolished in 1929.