Historic estate on the market - for £23m

IT is being called the most important sale in East Anglia for a generation - and it is yours for £23million.Shrubland Park, complete with one of country's finest stately halls, spectacular gardens and more than 1,300 acres, goes on the market tomorrow.

IT is being called the most important sale in East Anglia for a generation - and it is yours for £23million.

Shrubland Park, complete with one of country's finest stately halls, spectacular gardens and more than 1,300 acres, goes on the market tomorrow.

Lord de Saumarez has decided to sell his family estate, in Coddenham, near Ipswich, to help pay off death duties.

And Hector Wykes-Sneyd, who is acting as land agent in the sale, is expecting plenty of interest.


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He said: “It's such a special place - not only in terms of Suffolk, it is a remarkable place in terms of anything in the country.

“It is vast but not so vast that someone very rich couldn't live in it. There are some nice big rooms but they're not great ballrooms. It needs a very rich person to afford to run it and keep it up.”

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He added: “There's not a lot comparable in Suffolk. It's very unusual for something like this to come up for sale. It's one of a few in a year that would come up across England.”

Although it is possible the entire estate could be brought up by one individual or organisation, the land has been split into lots to make it attractive to the widest possible audience.

Lot one, which includes the hall and 200 acres, has been given a guide price of £8million.

Mr Wykes-Sneyd, who works from Sandy Lane, Coddenham, said: “We've lotted it, not because we don't think one organisation or individual would buy it as a whole, but to give it the flexibility.

“Obviously our priority is to find the right use for the estate. We have to be conscious that if someone wanted to use it as a classy hotel, for example, they may not be interested in all of the estate.

“We've already had some interest from a potential buyer who wanted it as a whole.”

It is thought the hall could be used as a health clinic, as it has been for the past 40 years.

And although annual running costs of the estate exceed a six-figure sum, it is possible an extremely wealthy individual could make it a home, with word spreading fast about its availability.

Mr Wykes-Sneyd said: “We've had a fair bit of interest and we haven't advertised it yet. It has been well known that it's coming up for sale.”

The sale marks the end of an era for the de Saumarez family, who have lived there for more than 100 years.

The decision to sell the estate follows the death of Lord de Saumarez's father, in 1991, and his mother, Lady de Saumarez, in 2004.

Mr Wykes-Sneyd said: “It has been a very difficult decision. It's not something he did quickly. There's a background of inheritance tax and that was one of the drivers behind the move. There are a number of other family issues that led him to that conclusion.

“But having decided to do it, it was a case of all or nothing. It was not a case of selling half and then looking at what you did have.

“It's always sad when a settled state of affairs comes to an end. There's sadness about the closure of the clinic but there's an element of excitement about looking to the future.”

Although Lord de Saumarez's future plans are unknown, it is thought he will leave Suffolk after selling the estate.

It is likely a country house sale, including some of the exclusive items included in the property, will take place later in the year.

The health clinic, which has operated from the hall since 1966, closed on Sunday, making a total of 65 staff redundant.

n Anyone interested in purchasing the estate should call 01449 761862.

SHRUBLAND Park stands on an abrupt glacial ridge overlooking the Gipping Valley.

Although there is evidence of settlement at Shrubland Park since the early Roman period, the first recorded owner was Robert de Shrubeland. The Estate passed by marriage through the families Oake, Bothe, Lytton, Little, Bacon, until it was bought in the late 18th Century by William Middleton of Crowfield, who was created Sir William Fowle Middleton Bart.

In 1804 he commissioned Sir Humphrey Repton to produce a "Red Book" on the landscape in 1789. His son, Sir William Fowle Fowle Middleton became the owner in 1829 and continued the improvements and changes to the hall and gardens. In 1882 the estate passed by marriage to the fourth Lord de Saumarez.

The hall was designed by James Paine in the 1770s and survives as the central core on the present building.

While Gandy Deering made extensive alterations in the 1830s - moving the entrance to its present position and building the upper terrace at first floor level - Donald Beaton helped with the garden design.

Sir Charles Barry, architect of the Houses of Parliament, completed the alterations to the hall and set about transforming the gardens with Sir William and his wife in the late 1840s.

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