ONE of North Yorkshire’s most magnificent properties has come back on the market after its sale fell through at the last minute – and now the price has dropped by £1 million.
The Press reported in 2009 that Grade I listed Howsham Hall, near Malton, which dates back to 1610, had come onto the market for only the third time in its history, with an asking price of £6 million.
Agents Savills said the response was “phenomenal” and a sale was subsequently agreed and contracts exchanged, but on the eve of completion the buyers pulled out.
James Perkins, who carried out a massive restoration of the building on behalf of owner David Pratt, said work was carried out bespoke for the prospective new owners in anticipation of completion, and 16 lorry-loads of furniture were removed to be sold at auction.
But when the sale fell through furniture had to be bought again, at massive inconvenience, so potential buyers could see it fully furnished.
He said a partial payment had been made by the buyers and a claim had been made for other costs.
Agents are now looking for offers of more than £5 million, which has reduced partly because some payment had already been received, but also to make the property more appealing to potential buyers.
Set in about 83 acres of land on the edge of the Howardian Hills, the hall was built by Sir William Bamburgh, whose coat of arms is above the main entrance, and it is late Jacobean in style with early classical Renaissance influences.
Mr Perkins said it had been through the most comprehensive restoration of a stately home that he knew.
The house is situated around a traditional central courtyard, and comprises five formal reception rooms, a staircase hall, principal bedroom suite and main guest suite, each with a dressing room, five further bedroom suites, snooker room, family and leisure wing, gymnasium, offices, staff accommodation and wine cellars.
It includes an arcade of Doric columns and cornicing in the great hall, an Adamesque stucco frieze matching the detailed marble fireplace in the drawing room, and a grand staircase supported by Tuscan columns.
There are also formal lawns, a cricket pitch, a folly and half a mile of frontage onto the River Derwent, with a boathouse and fishing rights on the river. The house is approached along a driveway which passes between two hexagonal stone lodges with arched gateways and battlements.