Large block of land on Marquess Townshend’s Raynham estate goes on market

A LARGE block of more than 1,000 acres of the Marquess Townshend’s Raynham estate has gone on the market.

It has a guide price of �7.9m and is subject to a farm business tenancy or contract farming arrangement.

The estate is still in the family of the agricultural innovator “Turnip” Townshend, the second viscount. He played a leading part in laying the foundations for Britain’s agricultural revolution and was a pioneer of the four-course rotation, much later adopted with such enthusiasm by a relative neighbour, Thomas William Coke at Holkham from the 1770s.

The block of 1,002 acres of grade III land, which lies between Oxwick and Hempton, near Fakenham in Norfolk, has formed part of the original Raynham estate.

The land at Pattesley, which lies on both sides of the Tittleshall Road to Hempton, has previously grown wheat, barley, oilseed rape, peas and sugar beet.

“It is pretty versatile land,” said chartered surveyor Christopher Miles.

Although most has been owned by the estate for centuries, part was subject to a sale and leaseback in the 1970s and was later re-acquired.

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Landowner, industrialist and founding chairman of Anglia Television, the seventh Marquess Townshend of Raynham, died just three weeks before his 94th birthday in April 2010.

For almost 30 years, George Townshend headed Anglia Television and under his direction, the family estate was transformed over the past 40 years into a highly-efficient arable enterprise of around 6,000 acres.

When he inherited the title, the estate was about 18,000 acres. The Townshend family has owned land in West Norfolk for 600 years, since the reign of Edward IV.

One 17th-century ancestor, “Turnip” Townshend, helped launch the agricultural revolution. His son, Charles, succeeded as the eighth marquess.

Available to purchase as a whole subject to a farm business tenancy or contract farming agreement, it has a guide price of �7.9m through Savills, Norwich, and is registered in the entry-level scheme.

Mr Miles, of the Norwich office of Savills, said: “It is rare to get the opportunity to buy 1,000 acres of productive land in one block but rarer still in Norfolk.

“Located in a popular area dominated by large estates and excellent commercial farms it is an ideal investment opportunity.

“The sale is subject to a continued farming agreement with the Raynham Farming Company which farms over 4,000 acres with a top management team and up to date equipment continuing the tradition of their forebears.

“We have already had interest from existing landowners, IHT investors, investment fund and family trusts.”