The sale of the £20 million Bletchingdon Park, Oxfordshire
Bletchingdon Park House in Oxfordshire is one of those classic Palladian villas that would make the perfect setting for a period drama. Unlike vast Jacobean mansions like Highclere Castle, better known as Julian Fellowes’ Downton Abbey, however, Bletchingdon is of a far more manageable size.
This Grade II* listed Georgian house, built for Lord Valentina in 1782, may be some 24,600 square foot in size, but it has a layout that makes it both practical for living and suitable for entertaining on a grand scale. The accommodation, which has been renovated by the renowned building company Symm, includes 9 bedrooms and suites, well-proportioned formal reception rooms and a garden floor with further reception rooms, a billiards room and a fitness room with spa.
Whilst the original stable block has been sold off and converted to residential accommodation, Bletchingdon Park includes 2 staff flats, a 2-bedroomed lodge cottage and a further 3-bedroomed cottage. With parkland and grounds extending to 127 acres, maintaining Bletchingdon’s plot is large, but easily maintained.
In the 20th century Bletchingdon was owned by Lord Astor and then Lord Rotherwick. The current owner, Dr Michael Peagram, purchased the estate in 1993. Peagram made his fortune in the chemicals industry after having led a management buyout of Huddersfield based Holliday Chemicals Holdings (HCH) in 1987. He revitalised the business, expanded into new markets and floated the company in 1993. The business was ultimately sold to Yule Catto for £225 million in 1997 and in 2001 Peagram sold another company for a reported £44 million.
At this point, this scientist turned tycoon moved to Monaco and saved himself, according to a 2009 Daily Mail article by Piers Morgan, some £13 million in capital gains tax. A wise businessman and a supporter of David Cameron, Peagram’s modus operandi is:
“Winning with honour and playing by the rules… And not cheating.”
In an interview with Monaco’s NeXt Generation Entrepreneur Forum, he states that he “did lots of work” to achieve his success but admits to “being a romantic at heart.” He has used much of his fortune to fund the philanthropic activities of Outward Bound Monaco with Prince Andrew, The Duke of York and Albert II, Prince of Moanco.
Peagram placed Bletchingdon Park on the market in May 2012 at a price of £20 million. Of why it hasn’t sold, one blogger commented that a footpath runs close to the house and that there is a lack of leisure facilities and outbuildings. Somehow neither seem insurmountable and whoever purchases this fine residence will be a very lucky man. If I were Dr Peagram, though, I’d keep it.
Bletchingdon Park, Bletchingdon, Kidlington, Oxfordshire, OX5 3DW is for sale through Knight Frank. For further details contact Damian Gray on +44 (0) 20 7629 8171 and to download a brochure go to: http://search.knightfrank.com/cho090098