Neglected Georgian mansion that has been home to Sir Dirk Bogarde, Basil Dearden, Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, Matt Aitken and Robert Kilroy-Silk for sale for 39% less than it sold for in 2014
A dilapidated Grade II* listed country house whose extensive roster of owners numbers aristocrats, rock and film stars and politicians is on sale for £3.95 million or 39% less from the £6.5 million sum it sold for in 2014.
Built for the Duke of Buckingham in the 1600s and extending to 10,743 square foot, Beel House in Little Chalfont, near Amersham in Buckinghamshire stands in 13.5 acres of land. It comprises of a 7 reception room, 8 bedroom, 6 bathroom main house and also comes with an indoor swimming pool complex, a tennis court and garaging for 5 cars.
Home to The Hon. Lady Caroline Cavendish in the 1830s and Colonel Abram ‘Arthur’ Lyle of the Tate & Lyle dynasty from 1909 to 1920, Beel House was bought by the actor Sir Dirk Bogarde in a “dilapidated state” in 1954. Of discovering it, Bogarde, who had been renting a cottage in the close vicinity on the Bendrose Estate, stated:
“[The actress Kay Kendall and I] walked across muddy fields from my rented home to look at Beel House. It was a horror. Bleak and empty, few of its twenty-six rooms caught the sun, and the garden surrounding it was a tangle of overgrown rosebeds. Inside it seemed a labyrinth of corridors and stone passages. It was painted throughout in dejected yellow and brown and each room had a rusty gas fire in it.”
Bogarde made significant changes to the building and pulled down a wing of 11 rooms. In their place, he built a swimming pool and a 30-foot long conservatory in the grounds – which Kay Kendall later described as looking like “an out patients’ department” – and it seems he spent several happy years there. He moved to another property nearby named Drummer’s Yard in 1960 and sold Beel House to Basil Dearden, the director of The Assassination Bureau, Khartoum and The Man Who Haunted Himself.
Dearden sold up in 1966 and the next famous owners were Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne in the early 1980s. It was whilst here that Mr Osbourne “decided to murder his wife” and of the ensuing incident on 3rd September 1989, the Amersham Museum’s website reports:
“Ozzy Osbourne put the house up for sale after he had been arrested for the attempted murder of his wife whilst living at Beel House. After taking a cocktail of drugs and drinking heavily during a family meal at the Chinese restaurant at Nightingales Corner he attacked his wife and was subsequently arrested. He had no memory of the attack but the conditions of his bail were that he entered a rehab centre, did not contact his wife and did not return to Beel House.”
Marketed for £1.75 million in 1991, unsurprisingly Sharon Osbourne, herself, did not have much positive to say about her time at Beel House either. In her 2006 autobiography, Extreme, she remarked:
“I decided I wanted to go back to England. By this time we had already sold Beel House. I had enough bad memories not to be too sorry to see it go. Also it had reached what the builder called the domino point: mending one thing only triggered something else that needed to be done.”
Matt Aitken, the composer of chart toppers for Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Rick Astley and Bananarama, supposedly lived at Beel House for a period subsequently and in the 1990s, the property was sold to the “exotically handsome man, with a very un-English facial glow and ice blue eyes” Robert Kilroy-Silk and his wife, Jan Beech.
Controversial television personality Mr Kilroy-Silk, an MP from 1974 to 1986 and an MEP from 2004 to 2009, brought with him a herd of fallow deer as well as Vietnamese pheasants and bantams to Beel House. He lived between there and his home in Spain and then sold up for the staggering sum of £6.5 million in 2014 to an “international buyer” who, according to Country Life’s Penny Churchill, immediately found “it ‘surplus to requirements’ and put it straight back on the market” through Savills.
Of the estate, which by then had been for sale for three years, in October 2017, then selling agent Hugh Maconochie told the Bucks Free Press:
“In many respects Beel House is the archetypal country residence: a Grade II* listed home in the heart of the Chilterns, beautiful grounds and easy access to London by both rail and road. Yet, while it was completely refurbished in the 1980s – new garaging, games block and swimming pool complex included – its current state necessitates a complete restoration project.”
“For those seeking a country residence to move straight into, Beel House is not the home for them. Instead it would appeal to a buyer looking to restore and revive a Georgian gem. A reduction in price over the years reflects the refurbishment that’s required.”
Empty and plainly somewhat neglected, Edward Welton of Knight Frank’s Baker Street office is now marketing the property. His firm describes Beel House as: “An exciting opportunity for a full restoration project, giving someone the chance to create their own style on a private estate, so close to London.”
Beel House – The Names and Numbers
November 2017 – Further reduced to just £3.95 million ($5.29 million, €4.47 million or درهم19.44 million) through Knight Frank.
January 2017 – Reduced to £4.95 million ($6.63 million, €5.61 million or درهم24.37 million) through Savills.
November 2015 – For sale again for £6.5 million ($8.7 million, €7.4 million or درهم32 million) through Savills.
2014 – Sold to “an international buyer” by Robert Kilroy-Silk for “close to” the £6.5 million ($8.7 million, €7.4 million or درهم32 million) asking price.
June 1991 – For sale for £1.75 million (the equivalent of £3.45 million, $4.62 million, €3.91 million or درهم16.98 million today).
October 1989 – Placed for sale by media personalities Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne.
1966 – Placed on the market by Basil Dearden for £66,000 (the equivalent of £1.1 million, $1.5 million, €1.2 million or درهم5.4 million today).
Circa 1960 – Sold to film director Basil Dearden (1911 – 1971).
January 1954 – Sold to actor Sir Dirk Bogarde (1921 – 1999) for £4,000 (the equivalent of £101,000, $135,000, €114,000 or درهم497,000 today).
1836 to 1954 – Part of the estate of the Lowndes family, largescale landowners in the Chesham, Buckinghamshire area. During this time tenants included The Hon. Lady Caroline Cavendish and from 1909 to 1920 by Colonel Abram Lyle (of the Tate & Lyle dynasty).
1730 – Valued at £500 (the equivalent of £99,000, $133,000, €112,000 or درهم487,000 today) by Sun Insurance whilst home to Thomas White of Middle Temple.
1672 to 1682 – Home to Mary Pennington, the mother-in-law of the Quaker founder of the State of Pennsylvania, William Penn.
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