Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Disputing a mansion

Haremere Hall is an East Sussex mansion requiring renovation that has been the subject of a rather bitter familial dispute

 

Haremere Hall at Etchingham in East Sussex wouldn’t look out of place as a location for a Miss Marple or a Poirot crime scene. Its recent history has been equally dramatic and now it is for sale for what initially seems like the very reasonable sum of just £2 million.

 

Haremere Hall mansion
Haremere Hall requires total refurbishment

 

The country residence of Jacqueline, the Dowager Baroness Killeran since her late husband, Miles Wedderburn Lampson, 1st Baron Killearn – a distinguished career diplomat and British Ambassador in Egypt during the Second World War – bought it in 1957, Haremere dates back to the 12th century. The main part of the house is Jacobean and was built in the early 1600s.

 

Haremere Hall mansion
The Dowager Baroness Killearn pictured at a party with Lord Fellowes (creator of ‘Downton Abbey’) in 2014

 

Variously home to one of the 59 judges at the trial of Charles I, James Temple, and John Busbridge, who was shot by Cromwellian soldiers whilst leaning out of a window, the Killearn family trust are now selling the house after a most almighty dispute between Lady Killearn and her son, Victor, the present Lord Killearn.

 

The 11,233 square foot main house is described by selling agents Knight Frank as being “in need of urgent renovation” and according to Country Life’s Penny Churchill it will cost £1–2 million just to restore the fabric of the building. A similar sum, Churchill adds, will be required to “furnish it in the style to which previous owners… have been historically been accustomed”.

 

In 2011, The Telegraph reported that Lady Killearn had lost a battle in the High Court with her son to sell Haremere Hall for £1.65 million. He had claimed the property had been “significantly undervalued” whilst she had wanted to do a deal to “live off the interest on the purchase price” whilst retaining “a sense of status”.

 

A legendary hostess and now aged 105, Lady Killearn’s lawyers reported that “a recent estimate put the total repair bill at around £1.9 million” with an “annual maintenance bill [of] around £80,000”. The house had been marketed unsuccessfully for £4 million in 2004.

 

Haremere Hall mansion
This oak panelled drawing room with a Tudor latticed ceiling is one of the finest rooms in the house

Haremere Hall mansion
The dining room

Haremere Hall mansion
The master bedroom

 

Currently comprising of 6 reception rooms, 12 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms, the names of the rooms at Haremere Hall wouldn’t look out of place in any Agatha Christie novel. The Prince Regent’s Room, the Countess Room, Lady Laetitia’s Room and the Duchess Room could easily be the settings for a murder but most recently they’ve actually been let to holidaymakers and wedding parties by the Killearn family.

 

Haremere Hall mansion
A gate house and coach house provide additional accommodation

Haremere Hall mansion
Haremere Hall is surrounded by open countryside

 

Also included in the asking price is a coach house comprising of garaging and two flats, a gate lodge, farm buildings and grounds of 84.32 acres. A further 40.27 acres of land is available for an additional £250,000.

 

Undoubtedly the next owners of Haremere Hall will need to be very wealthy individuals. They will also need to be patient sorts as this is a renovation project that undoubtedly will be heavily scrutinised by English Heritage given the Grade I listed status of the property.

 

 

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    6 COMMENTS

    1. Its a common site now around Berkshire wealthy individuals buying property and letting it fall down so they can build their dream New property ! We need to protect these buildings but unfortunately they are just too costly to maintain.What is the Answer? Weddings etc.?

      • They won’t be allowed to let this one fall down Peter. It is Grade I listed. What you say about Berkshire and Surrey however is indeed true. They just want to build footballers’ wives cribs. The answer: Sell them to large families, sub-divide, the wealthy… Not sure really.

    2. Lord Alan Sugar must purchase the building for the generous purpose of setting up a Jewish Care Home. Lord Sugar will be honoured for his generosity, the establishment will be named the “Sugarland Express” in his honour. I am Jewish, get me the hell out of Margate…….We will even add a framed photograph of Lord Sugar in the foyer of this exclusive Jewish Care Home.

      • Peter, we will bent the rules to accommodate you……..Lord Sugar’s success is not based on following rules and regulations to the book. He is not Blakey the inspector in On the Buses. We will twist Sugar’s arm.

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