Unique Property Bulletin 14 October 2012

Definitively Unique: Heads-Up II

Sealand – Micronation, North Sea. (c) 2012 Ashley Dace

It is rare we have a heads-up property. Even rarer two in a row (last week’s heads-up ensuring our readers know of, and can monitor the distinct possibility of Start Point Lighthouse Tower coming up for sale).

So what do we have here, and why?

Oddly the day after last week’s Bulletin we had an email from a chap wanting to buy something he could start a community at. An unusual request, but that is what this site is all about. All sorts! There are communities like like the Findhorn Foundation, or the Old Hall Community. Even the Castaway 2000 by Lion Television. Many examples exist. Something where a group of like minded individuals could get away from the current malaise gripping the United Kingdom.

Following that email, we were saddened this week to hear about the passing of a truly unique person. Major Roy Bates formerly of the First Battalion Royal Fusiliers City of London Regiment. Peacefully on 9th October 2012, aged 91. Major Roy Bates Obituary.

This was no ordinary person. This was the founder of the unusual story that was and is the State of Sealand. Basically a former military installation offshore atop the two legs, as appears in the main photograph above. This can be seen – just – in the eyeline off, and from the Felixstowe coast. The whole enterprise has an interesting history from Christmas Eve in 1966. After an incident defending his new state, Roy Bates and his son Michael found themselves on the 25th of November 1968 in the dock of the Crown Court of Chelmsford Assizes in Essex. Following much argument and laws going back to the 17th century the judge summed up “This is a swash buckling incident perhaps more akin to the time of “Sir Francis Drake” but it is my judgement is that the UK courts have no jurisdiction.” This was Sealand’s first de facto recognition. Chris De Burgh’s judge could hardly have awarded a better verdict for Patricia !

It must be doing something of interest. There are well over 50,000 followers of Sealand on Facebook !

In early 2007 Sealand was placed for sale …


It didn’t sell. The price tag was, to be delicate, a little eye watering! Now things have moved on. Major Roy Bates lived a wonderful, interesting and long life into his 90s. Nature has taken its course. There may be some uncertainty about the place off the East Anglian Coast that has for 45 years held its real life equivalent of the Ealing Film Passport To Pimlico.

Our obligation at Unique Property Bulletin is to give our eccentric band of readers the heads-up. This place called Sealand with a significant and enduring micro history all of it’s own still has a future. What that is will only emerge once the family of Major Roy have had the time and grace to grieve.

In the words of Major Roy’s son Michael (quoted from 2007) …..

“My father is 85 and my mother in her late 70s and I’m 54,” he said. “I believe the project needs a bit of rejuvenation.”

All we can really do is pass our respects, and let our readers know of any developments at this very unique place. Also to a very unusual man Major Roy Bates. Sealand Website – Roy Bates Mini Biography

It is worth studying Major Bate’s pre-Sealand experiences, as it contains some significant life changing events. Probably one of the most profound was his being part of the World War 2 Battle of Monte Cassino.This is a personal mention. As a young student I was fortunate to be placed in accommodation managed by a veteran of Monte Cassino. He never talked about it. If you read any of the accounts it is understandable why soldiers would refrain from revisiting that utter carnage. We only found out of our landlord’s wartime duties from his wife when she mentioned some old medals we had found whilst helping clear out the attic. She asked us to respect her husband and not bring the issue up. Nowadays this sort of thing has a name. PTSD. Anyway I digress. Major Bates served in that campaign too. Which perhaps gives some insight on one of Roy Bates most memorable interviews on the BBC where he is quoted:-

“I might die young or I might die old, but I will never die of boredom”

Seems Major Bates had a sense of humour as well as being a member of the eccentric homes club.

There are lots of photographs of Sealand here…



Access is normally via boat, but having lived on an island, and from experience, it can be hazardous decanting. Even in apparent flat calms, by the time the island – or sea fort – is reached, the flat water can undulate into a 10 to 15 foot high swell. Result: scratchy scratchy nice boat. If you have the money to buy an island or sea fort, it is well worth looking into buying a small helicopter into the bargain. Not a luxury, often a necessity.

Relatively inexpensive Robinson R22 (c) 2012 Unique Property Bulletin

This may seem exotic and an extravagence, but it is a huge worry and spoils the wonder of staying on an island or structure such as Sealand when you have the ever present concern of storms damaging the boat. Often the same bad weather means you are stuck offshore, whereas the helicopter can get you over the rough seas a lot easier. The model shown, if bought between four people as often is the case, turns out to be little more expensive than running a mid range motor car each.

Sealand Helipad Landing Facility (c) 2012 Ryan Lackey

Sorry, wandered there a little. Back on topic. The industrial utilitarian look of the Roughs Tower design may not appeal to everyone. Here is a close up of the Thames Estuary sister structure giving a clearer illustration of the original layout and fortification…..

Maunsell Standardised WW2 Design (c) 2012 Hywell Williams

If military man-made islands are not to your taste, we would remind readers that there are thousands of islands around the UK to build a new life upon. Maybe not make a Rhodesia style declaration of independence, but a place where you do have significant privacy -Taransay Style. Indeed Ailsa Craig Island was one of the places actually considered for the Castaway 2000 television series.

Ailsa Craig Island (c) 2012 Knight Frank

Fortuitously the Marquess of Ailsa has just knocked a million pounds off of his asking price for Ailsa Craig Island, and if you had a little mischief you might make an offer of £995,000. Knowing the island intimately THAT would be a bargain.

As for Sealand. It isn’t officially back up for sale again just now, but if it does light your passion, please bookmark this page and keep an eye out. We will of course update the position if it changes.

Location: Sealand Principality, 13 Kilometres East of Harwich, Essex. Mailing address: Bureau of Internal Affairs, 5 The Row, SEALAND 1001, c/o Sealand Post Bag, IP11 9SZ.

Tenure: Freehold.

Guide: If and when – to be advised.

Contact Sealand : Initially VHF Channel 16, then as directed.

Online Brochure ….

Possibly Via Former (2007) Agency Inmonaranja



Island Windmill Eye Catcher

Union Windmill, Isle of Anglesey (c) 2012 Fine & Country Agencies

Melin Sguthan or Union Mill stands in the centre of a large garden and has far reaching panoramic views across the island of Anglesey extending to the majestic Snowdonia mountains beyond.

Union Windmill – Really Unique (c) 2012 Fine & Country Agencies

In the mid 19th Century, the mill was purchased by a consortium of Manchester businessmen but as the years passed, increased competition from the more mechanised mills built on an industrial scale in large parts such as Holyhead and Liverpool, saw the mill to fall into disrepair.

The decline continued until the mill was closed in 1913 and during the First World War, the iron machinery was removed to support the war effort. After this time, this historic jewel appears to have remained only as a prominent landmark until it was acquired and painstakingly redeveloped following the approval of planning permission in 2009. After a fine restoration, the Union Mill is now ready to commence a new chapter in its long and history. External renovation works are complete to a very high standard.

Union Windmill Interior Panorama (c) 2012 Fine & Country Agencies

The mill is laid out over four storeys – the observation deck on top being its crowning glory – with 360 degree views! The modern additions on the ground floor are contemporary in design yet complement the style, giving it a distinctive edge. The accommodation needs to be completed before occupation can be enjoyed, but this offers the prospective and discerning purchaser the opportunity to make their mark – stamping their own unique taste on this amazing residence, which does already benefit from having been fully rewired, plumbed and gas central heating fitted as well as a certified sprinkler system fitted throughout.

Union Windmill, Isle of Anglesey (c) 2012 Fine & Country Agencies

Externally, there is a large garden, gravelled drive and private parking. Parts of the original ironwork have been incorporated into the garden too!

The Isle of Anglesey is a beautiful Island with over 120 miles of breathtaking coastline with sandy beaches and dramatic cliffs. The Snowdonia mountains on the mainland offers a dramatic backdrop making this a special place to settle. Gaerwen has a few local amenities whilst the main A55 Expressway, Bangor and Menai Bridge can be reached in a matter of minutes. Mainline train services are available at Bangor.

For fun, take a look at the “before” photos ….


A lot of devotion and hard work has gone into this one.

Location: Union Mill, Gaerwen, Isle of Anglesey, North Wales, LL60 6BL.

Tenure: Freehold.

Guide: £385,000.

Contact Fine & Country Agencies Tel : 01248 711999.

Online Brochure ….



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Medway Moorings

The Moorings, The Priory (c) 2012 Clive Emson Auctioneers.

Maybe not as extraordinary as some of the properties we feature, but a firm favourite going by the emails received. This is for our readers who love boats and are looking for a home from home to keep them. Here is a mooring with a house included. An attractive semi-detached bungalow in an elevated position on a quiet private road with views to the front over the Medway Valley.

The Moorings – Garden To The House (c) 2012 Clive Emson Auctioneers.

The property has a gas heating system via radiators, replacement double glazed windows and a modern fitted kitchen. The current owner has the benefit of a personal mooring license from the River Authority.

The Moorings House, The Priory (c) 2012 Clive Emson Auctioneers.

Accommodation: Entrance Hall, Kitchen, Living Room, Dining Room and Bedroom Two. First Floor: Landing, Main Bedroom and WC/Bathroom. Outside: Driveway to side leading to garage. Yard area to rear. Excellent garden to the front leading to the River Medway.

Location: The Moorings, The Priory, East Farleigh, Maidstone, Kent, ME15 0JH.

Tenure: Freehold.

Guide: £185,000 to £195,000 at Clive Emson Auction. Lot 38 Sale Date: 29 October 2012.

Contact Clive Emson Auctioneers Tel: 0845 8500333.

Online Brochure ….



Baronial Beauty On Bute By Boat

Ascog Hall, Isle of Bute (c) 2012 Strutt and Parker

By major city standards this is a lot of building and land for relatively little money. Described as a ‘Fairy Tale’ period house in beautifully stocked private grounds, Ascog Hall is every part the classic baronial mansion. Even better, it has a gorgeous coastal location on an island that has, or has had amongst its notable inhabitants folk such as Lord Attenborough of Jurassic Park fame (Ascog is famously well planted with ferns, but hopefully not the dinosaur breeding type). Other residents include the Marquess of Bute, along with visitors such as the Duke of Rothesay, otherwise know as Britain’s future King !

Ascog Hall Grounds, Isle of Bute (c) 2012 Strutt and Parker

The main building – Ascog Hall is a category B listed detached mansion house constructed of stone under a mixed pitched slate roof. Ascog Hall was bought by the family of the present owners in 1986 as a ruin, at which time it was fully restored. Quite apart from being architecturally important to the Island and the U.K., the Fernery is indeed a magnificent, unique centrepiece to the main hall housing many subtropical ferns in an L-shaped, glazed Victorian subterranean wonderland. Ascog Hall includes a range of outbuildings – a general purpose store, poly tunnel and greenhouse. In addition to which are the Victorian style greenhouse covering award winning and reputable Fernery…


The grounds extend to approximately 3 acres.

Ascog Hall Grounds, Isle of Bute (c) 2012 Strutt and Parker

Ascog Hall is tucked away privately in mature gardens in a pretty coastal location in Ascog on the East coast of the attractive and popular west of Scotland Isle of Bute. Rothesay, which is 3 miles to the north west, has thriving shopping, leisure and educational facilities including a larger sized Co-op. Caledonian MacBrayne operates a frequent ferry service to Wemyss Bay, which has direct rail links to Glasgow. A second ferry service runs between Rhubodach on the north of Bute to Colintraive giving access to Argyll and the West Highlands. The two nearest airports are Glasgow and Prestwick, which are approximately 40 and 50 minutes drive from Wemyss Bay.

Bute Island Ferry: MV Saturn (photo – Arran secondment) (c) 2012 Russ McLean.

The Island of Bute has much to do for recreation. Rothesay has an 18 hole golf course, enjoying outstanding views of the Firth of Clyde and Arran. Smaller courses are at Port Bannatyne and Kingarth. Bute is an area of significant natural beauty and mild climate, with many opportunities for coastal and hill walking and mountain biking. Fresh water and sea fishing are available, and there are shooting and stalking opportunities. The island has its own grass airstrip for light aircraft and microlights. The area is notable for its sailing on the famous Kyles of Bute, which is a National Scenic Area. Tighnabruaich and Colintraive to the north, and the Crinan Canal and Tarbert to the West, are centres of lively sailing activity throughout the season. There are marinas and sheltered moorings in Rothesay and Port Bannatyne.

As for this listing at Ascog Hall – if required there is also a second additional building available by separate negotiation. The Old Coach House (Lot 2 – offers over £125,000) This is situated to the south western end of the grounds. There is detailed planning permission for the creation of two residential dwellings and a tearoom. The coach house is accessed from Balmory Road.

Location: Ascog Hall, Ascog, Isle Of Bute, PA20 9EU.

Tenure: Feuhold (Scottish Equivalent of Freehold).

Guide: £650,000.

Contact Strutt & Parker Agencies Tel: 0141 225 3883 – Carolyn Campbell

Online Brochure ….



Golden Grade II At Glaven

Thornage Water Mill (c) 2012 Savills

This may look a fairly square, almost unremarkable structure, but it is brimming with wonderful retained features everywhere you look. Some subtle, like the beamed ceilings, some a featured homage to the past of this fine building, such as part of the mill wheel mechanism…

Big Cog – Thornage Water Mill (c) 2012 Savills

Thornage Water Mill is located in Norfolk, at the unspoilt Glaven Valley, with extensive frontage to the River Glaven. Last used as a water mill in 1915, the mill was converted to a high standard in the late 1980’s, and has since been sympathetically altered and improved. Throughout the changes some of the mill gear has remained, including 3 millstones on the first floor, with recent repairs carried out by a professional millwright, including the repair and reconstruction of the waterwheel. The property was converted to take full advantage of its outstanding position, with fine southerly views over its own land and the River Glaven that meanders through it.

Thornage Water Mill (c) 2012 Savills

General Description:-

• Entrance Hall
• Kitchen/Breakfast Room
• Drawing Room
• Family/Dining Room
• Master Bedroom with adjoining Dressing Room and Bathroom
• Four More Bedrooms
• Bathroom
• Shower room
• Study
• Substantial Traditional Barn including a studio with shower room and kitchenette
• Mill Pool, extensive river frontage to the River Glaven, further pond
• Mature gardens and grounds including meadowland
• In all approximately 7.5 acres (est).

Location: Thornton Water Mill, Holt Road, Thornage, Holt Norfolk, NR25 7QN.

Tenure: Freehold.

Guide: £995,000.

Contact Savills Tel : 01603 229 229 – Mr Ben Rivett.

Online Brochure ….



Bulk Buy Barns

Barns at Mathry (c) 2012 West Wales Property

As regular readers will have possibly noted, our favourite flavours of unusual building tend to be lighthouses, coastguard stations and even small islands.

In penitence, and also with the knowledge that at least 12 of our eccentric band of 2,000 readers, and 190 email followers have a strong wish to buy a barn we have a barn bonanza. Ideal for the two of those emailers wanting a specific unique lifestyle, as well as unusual home. Indeed one enquiry asked for a barn with an income.

Barn Views From Mathry (c) 2012 West Wales Property

So here we offer a bunch of barns in the one lot, to provide the required style of home along with the income which will allow our reader, if she so desires, to have a home, a lifestyle, the freedom and monetary security to allow her to write that book in the barn.

Barns at Mathry (c) 2012 West Wales Property

Originally listed as a four bedroom barn with 4 letting barn-converted cottages, total guide price £770,000 ….


The description has recently changed from a four bedroom barn and four letting cottages, to THREE. The price has been amended to £580,000 to reflect one seemingly having been sold. Lots of pictures are available at, and each one gives the proverbial thousand words ..


Agency Description: An opportunity to acquire a character home in a stunning rural location within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, enjoying beautiful sea views, together with Three Holiday Cottages, arranged around a gravelled courtyard. Converted from a range of traditional farm buildings, the main emphasis was to create an harmonious balance between light and airy accommodation and original character features, within a peaceful setting. Each cottage has its own garden/sitting area leading to attractively landscaped gardens to be shared by all – in all extending to approximately one acre.

Barns at Mathry (c) 2012 West Wales Property

Though for the sake of good form, and to make sure the readers of our Unique Property Bulletin are fully availed of background detail, there would appear, on initial due diligence to be a neighbour dispute …


Maybe worth mentioning that in any negotiations on price.

Location: Rhoslanog, Mathry Haverfordwest, Dyfed, SA62 5HG.

Tenure: Freehold.

Guide: £580,000.

Contact West Wales Property Tel :0845 094 3004.

Online Brochure ….

An impressive array of photographs, floorplans and details online at …



In case you missed it, and in addition to our weekly Unique Property Bulletin – our monthly FEATURE has been uploaded and is available via this link ….

Click Here For Monthly FEATURE


…….and finally:-

Railway Station Rumination

Chu Chu Railway Station Restaraunt (c) 2012 Wilsons Auction

1 Cubrieshaw Street, West Kilbride, KA23 9AY

For sale, via auction, on 18th Oct 2012 (guide £175,000). Further details ….


We recently received a request from a reader who owns an interesting Railway Station. She has entered it into auction, and we leave the photographs and narrative from the auctioneer to inspire what might be a brief encounter or perhaps a long shot for one of our readers in the buying arena. This is called Chu Chus. It doesn’t have a residential component at the moment, but that may be a possibility, subject to planning etc.


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If we have missed anything, please email suggestions via our website….