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.
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.
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.
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.
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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