After many viewings and some speculation, the Sunday Times is reporting that Kiddington Hall has finally been sold for £15m to Jemima Goldsmith, the wealthy socialite. The grade-II listed house, originally built in 1673 but largely rebuilt to designs by Sir Charles Barry, comes with 466-acres of gardens and parkland designed by ‘Capability’ Brown. The Sunday Times quotes a ‘property source’ as saying “It was a romance. She just fell in love with it.”.
The sale was ordered by the court to fund the divorce settlement of the owner, Erik Maurice Robson, who needed to raise £8m to provide for his ex-wife (for a detailed estimation of the likely proceeds see the comments on a previous post: ‘The economics of selling a country house‘). The estate, described as a ‘jewel in the heart of Oxfordshire’, was one of the most important estates to be launched onto the market last year as rarely do prime estates with a manageable house, fine gardens and a productive estate, come up for sale in the prime Home Counties and this was reflected in the original asking price of £42m for the entire 2,000-acres and house.
However, considering Jemima’s previous successful forays into property development, is Kiddington Hall to be a family home or will she take the advice of some who say that if she spends a couple of million on refurbishment the property could be worth £20m? It will certainly be one to watch as if it is relaunched in a year or two, it will provide a useful barometer as to the recovery of prime country property.
The sale of the main house will also mean that the sale of the remainder of the estate, encompassing 1,600-acres plus several farms and houses can proceed. These sales were contingent on the main sale as without the sale of the main house the rest of the estate could not be sold. The Sunday Times is reporting that Alec Reed, founder of the Reed recruitment agency, is the purchaser.
More details: ‘Jemima Goldsmith jumps on £15m stately home‘ [The Sunday Times]