Unique Property Bulletin 4 November 2012

Classic Castle – Community Comforts

Bath Lodge Castle, Somerset (c) 2012 Savills.

The spectrum of property featured on our Unique Property Bulletin website needs to cover the whole range of prices and geographic locations sought by our friends and readers.

This particular castle is a wonderful building. Habitable as a single owner occupier residence. But also worth suggesting an examination of the building’s floorplan for an alternate possibility. The reason? Many times we have seen folk club together and buy something that is, at first sight, out of one person, or one family’s price range. A building such as this castle that has so many rooms, and so much space, two, three or even four folk/families can consider buying a really big place between them.

In this castle, the floorplan is the first thing to study to see if it is possible to live under the same roof and each have private space. You might be surprised how often this idea actually does work. We are not talking communal living like the fully fledged and wonderful Old Hall Community in Colchester …



Old Hall, East Bergholt, Colchester (c) 2012 Zorba

…. but something on a smaller scale. The Old Hall Community is a fine example of a larger endeavour. That community has been in existence since the 1970’s and is still going strong some 40 years later. All 100 rooms of the Old hall example and beloved lifestyle have continued through generations. Rooms (units) do still come up for sale. It is an interesting thing to study Old Hall as there are several of that style of unique community around the British Isles.

Bath Lodge Castle, Somerset (c) 2012 Phil Williams.

Back to the Bath Lodge Castle, this is more likely to be a two or three families joining together project. What might seem an impossible £2,000,000 price tag, can be split into digestible and bite sized portions. Our job here has been, still is, and always will be, to help turn dreams into reality. The price on the Bath Lodge Castle example has already been reduced. reportedly from £1,950,000 to around, £1,750,000. If, in these harsh economic times, the owner could be persuaded to accept £1,500,000 from a mini-property-syndicate of 3, then that makes owning a part of this much more likely. Simple arithmetic at £500,000 a piece. Though a lot depends on whether there is sufficient accommodation, which is where a study of the floorplan comes in useful. Also, the local authority may require a house in multiple occupancy ruling to be observed. Alternatively a more formal and structural division might be preferable. Notwithstanding the paperwork, many people have made something that seems totally out of reach, and just a dream, into a real and workable home. Plus a very interesting adventure. Just for fun, have a look at the actual castle floorplans and see if it might be possible for two or three families to have their own piece of this fabulous building, and keep the balance between privacy and community/friendship ….


If you need other examples, or even closer to home, actual buildings we have seen or been part of in the unique-property-syndicate adventures (18 so far), please feel free to contact us by clicking HERE. If we can do it, then you can too. Just find a small group of your friends/family, plus a fascinating and suitable unique property (the bigger the better), sort out a conveyancing lawyer, and there you go!

Next: for this listing, we detail the estate agent’s summary of the Bath Lodge Castle:

Run as a small privately owned boutique hotel for the past 20 years. Bath Lodge Castle is fortified with four circular towers to each corner and a central section along with the original Bath stone appearance. The castle has recently undergone a full refurbishment and now offers luxurious accommodation. The wide braced heavy timber door opens into the entrance hall, which leads through to a reception hall and into the drawing room with its large open fire and turreted snug. Just off the drawing room is the dining room which can comfortably seat up to 20 people for dinner or breakfast. The fully equipped Kitchen has an adjoining breakfast area. There is an independent wing with its own entrance, kitchen, 2 en-suite bedrooms and living room currently used as manager’s accommodation. The first floor and second floors comprise 7 en-suite bedrooms and one further bedroom. All the bedrooms suites have been refurbished to the highest standard from the circular turreted bathrooms to the luxurious bedrooms with bespoke interior design. Three of the bedrooms enjoy their own roof terraces The standard of decoration and appointment is high throughout the property. The Pavilion provides a sanctuary within the beautiful gardens of the Castle. The facilities within The Pavilion include an outdoor hot-tub, a sauna for total relaxation, a rejuvenating bamboo shower and an outdoor bar and decking area for entertaining.

Summary Detail:-

9 Bedrooms – En Suite – Bath or Shower.

5 Reception Rooms.

3 Roof Terraces.


Approximately 3.5 Aces of Garden.

Location: Bath Lodge Castle, Warminster Road, Norton St Philip, Bath, BA2 7NH.

Tenure: Freehold.

Guide: £1,950,000 (reported to have had a price reduction to £1,750,000 – worth checking out).

Contact Savills Agency: 01225 474547.

Online Brochure and Lots of Photographs ….



Castle At Cupar For The Brave

Lordscairnie Castle (c) 2012 Smiths Gore

Alright, so if the two million pound castle listed above is a little on the high side for price, then how about this remarkable ruinous relic? Firstly, a thank you to one of our readers for emailing the details across. Indeed thank you to the growing numbers of site members and readers who are helping with unique property suggestions and candidates to share with each other. PLEASE keep emailing us via this link with your ideas and unique building finds. Thank you.

Now onto the estate agent’s description:

Lordscairnie Castle is an historic 15th century B listed castle restoration set in about 29.62 acres of lovely countryside. The castle enjoys an idyllic setting within the open countryside of north Fife. The castle sits in a sheltered position at the base of the Colluthie Valley and is surrounded by rolling hills and agricultural farm land.

Fife is famous for its picturesque coast line, fishing villages, fertile land and of course Golf, with over 20 courses within a short drive including Kingsbarns, Lundin Links and The Old Course in St Andrews. The castle is highly accessible with the M90 nearby and Dundee only 11 miles to the north. Edinburgh International Airport is only 40 miles away otherwise a 15 minute drive to Dundee Airport gives access for regular fights to London.

Wonderful Views From Lordscairnie Castle (c) 2012 Smiths Gore

Lordscairnie Castle was built in the late 15th Century (circa 1493 1498) by Sir Alexander Lindsay, the seventh Earl of Crawford, who at the time was one of the most powerful noblemen in Scotland. The castle was an important centre for the Lindsay clans operations and aspirations in central Scotland enjoying a colourful history. The various intrigues include raiding of the castle, house arrests and conflicts with the Bishop of St Andrews. The castle was abandoned in the mid 17th Century and was utilised by the local congregation as a church until the end of the 17th Century. The castle has been unoccupied since then with ownership transferred to the Earl of Glasgow in the 1840s, then by a succession of local farmers before it became the property of the existing owner. One of the most enduring legends is that it is the hiding place for ill-gotten treasure but unfortunately, nothing of any significant value has come to light so far.

More information on the history of Lordscairnie Castle can be found at the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland – RCAHMS – website ….


…. including some excellent aerial photographs. Also there is an artists impression of what this building might have looked like, or very well may end up being restored into …


Location: Lordscairnie Castle, Moonzie, Off A913/A91 Cupar Road, Fife. Near to KY15 4JB.

Tenure: Feuhold (Scottish Equivalent of Freehold).

Guide: Offers In The Region Of £220,000.

Contact Smith Gore Agencies Tel: 0131 344 0888.

Online Brochure ….



Credit Crunch Castle

Dinton Hall Castle Ruin, Buckinghamshire (c) 2012 Michael Anthony Agencies

This week we started the Bulletin with a castle that has a seven figure price tag, and in our core aim to cover all budgets, we present a much more modestly priced castle. Or rather a folly in the style of a castle. Folly castle it may be, but it has still been awarded a Grade II* listing by English Heritage.

As well as a splendid ruin, the guide is also attractive at £75,000. Of course a monumental amount of time, patience, planning, and pennies will be needed here. Also the timeframe is tight. Auction day is looming for this 240 year old ruin – 26th November 2012.

Dinton Hall Castle: Interesting Masonry (c) 2012 Michael Anthony Agencies

Located just north of the village of Dinton and was built as an eyecatcher from the grounds of Dinton Hall by Sir John Vanhatten in 1769 to store his collection of fossils unearthed in the local chalk quarry Ammonites of all sizes are incorporated in the limestone walls The Folly was originally of three storeys and was lived in by some of his servants. Octagonal plan with circular towers at east and west The west tower has fireplaces at each storey and the east tower had a newel staircase

The castle has been largely forgotten about for many years and is now described as a ruin. In point of fact, if you scroll down this link ….


….. it appears to have built to look a little ruinous at the outset, even though there is apocryphal material to suggest it was once habitable (by fossils of all things).

Time To Phone Kevin McCloud or George Clarke ! (c) 2012 Michael Anthony Agencies

There is a public footpath through the grounds which are in excess of half an acre. Buyers need to be aware that a tree preservation order (TPO) exists on the full site. In addition, there is some interesting history about regicide and ghosts. Out of curiosity some detail at ….


Location: Dinton Hall, Upton Road, Dinton, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP17 8UQ.

Tenure: Freehold.

Guide: £75,000 – For sale by Auction on 26 November 2012, 1.00pm at Holiday Inn, New Road, Aylesbury, HP22 5QT.

Contact Michael Anthony Agencies Tel: 01296 433666.

Online Brochure ….



Boathouse By The Banks

Boathouse at Cornwall (c) 2012 Strutt & Parker

Our recent flurry of this sort of unusual buildings seems to have struck an appetite with some readers. So this week we have another one. Situated on the banks of the River Helford by Gear Bridge, Cornwall.

View From Mawgen Boathouse (c) 2012 Strutt & Parker

If anyone wishes to land this building, they should study the sale details to make sure which part is being disposed of, and for how much, as there are four lots in the general scheme of things being sold here.

The location is steeped in interesting things. The novels of Daphne du Maurier were closely associated to the area. The Boathouse at Mawgen is of part stone construction under a corrugated iron roof with concrete floor, which is laid out over two levels. There is a door and slipway to the river. Electricity is connected. The boathouse has enormous potential for conversion into a dwelling, subject to the necessary planning consents, and occupies a fine, picturesque riverside location.

The quay has six steps down, giving access to the river, and a tie up for one or two boats.

Given all the flooding issues that plague so many people elsewhere nowadays, it is well worth considering any planning application for conversion to proposed residential use, be on an upper floor, with the lower used for some function that does not have too adverse an impact if it gets a little wet ! For example a garage where the car can be moved to higher ground if there is a prolonged heavy rain season. Just a thought. We know, for we had that very problem and it does have what might be called an engineering solution. Just as described. Lower floor for functional use that doesn’t cause distress if it gets wet, and the weather/flooding sensitive part built much higher and out of harms way. Then the much desired river view need not come with the worry that sometimes happens when you live by the water.

Location: The Boathouse, Mawgan, Helston, Cornwall TR12 6AE.

Tenure: Freehold.

Guide: £300,000.

Contact Strutt & Parker Agencies Tel: 01392 229426 – Hannah Edge.

Online Brochure ….



Towering Infrequent

Tower at Berkshire (c) 2012 Knight Frank

This is an odd tower. Nicely renovated. Grade II listed, and providing contemporary accommodation arranged over four floors. Two bedroom suites, kitchen/dining area and large sitting room, together with a roof terrace and secure parking.

Forming part of a unique conversion of the former Drakes Brewery, The Tower lies close to the centre of the popular village of Kingsclere, with its excellent facilities including shops, post office, public houses, restaurants, doctor’s surgery, churches and primary school. The M3, M4 and A34 are all close by, as well as excellent rail services to London Waterloo and Paddington from Basingstoke and Newbury respectively.

Tower at Berkshire (c) 2012 Knight Frank

The Tower dates back to 1742 and was redeveloped in 2004 to the highest standard with modern living in mind. On the ground floor is the entrance hall, guest bedroom with en suite shower room and small utility area. The kitchen/dining area is on the first floor as well as a cloakroom. On the second floor is the sitting room which has access to the roof terrace. The master bedroom with en suite bathroom occupies the third floor.

Tower at Berkshire (c) 2012 Knight Frank

A walled courtyard provides secure parking behind a solid wooden electric gate.

General Summary:-

2 Bedrooms

2 Reception Rooms

2 Bathrooms

Approximately 140.24 sqm


Private Parking

Location: The Tower, Popes Hill, Kingsclere, Newbury,Berkshire, RG20 5SJ.

Tenure: Freehold.

Guide: £399,000.

Contact Knight Frank Agencies Tel: 01256 350600 – Mr Mark Potter.

Online Brochure ….



Mind Your Language

Former Language School, East Sussex (c) 2012 Clive Emson Auctioneers

A few days ago, on 30th October 2012 this detached renovation project was offered for sale at auction. It didn’t sell. Thus placing it in one of our favourite categories. A failed-to-sell-at-auction building. This takes some pressure off of potential buyers. Gives them the grace to sort out due diligence, searches, solicitors, surveyors, planning details, funding etc. Plus of course some potential flexibility in price negotiation as the seller has not managed a sale.

It also is a favourite in our books because this building combines residential and commercial planning permission. A place to refurbish and call home, with that all important 30 second commute to work avoiding all of those pesky traffic jams. The former language school part of this building could fulfil all sorts of new business ventures. Perhaps even start a computer school. Goodness knows, one of the dozey creatures at the end of this keyboard/unique property website could do with some lessons in the internet language.

A good sized detached house of brick construction with tiled elevations under a tiled roof, located on the corner on Gillsmans Hill and Sedlescombe Road South.

The entire building is now in need of repair and refurbishment and possible conversion into flats, a private dwelling or, perhaps, offices, subject to all the necessary consents being obtainable.

The auctioneers have been advised that the upper floors comprise of six bedrooms and the ground floor was previously used as a language school.

Former Language School, East Sussex (c) 2012 Clive Emson Auctioneers

General Details:-

Ground Floor: Entrance Hall, Classroom One, Common Room, W.C., Classroom Two, Store Room, Rear Hallway, Office and Classroom Three.

First Floor: Kitchen, Three Bedrooms, Bathroom with W.C. and Box Room.

Second Floor: Three further Bedrooms, Box Room and Hallway.

Outside: Gardens to front rear and side.

Location: 66 Sedlescombe Road South, St-Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, TN38 0TD.

Tenure: Freehold.

Guide: £145,000 – £155,000 Lot 94 (Failed To Sell At Auction – 30 Oct 2012).

Contact Clive Emson Auctioneers Tel: 0845 6036614.

Online Brochure ….



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

Click Here For Monthly FEATURE


and finally….

What Can You Buy For £12,000 ?

Muirkirk Church (c) 2012 Wilsons Auctions

This is the informal one year anniversary of our transfer from a 25 year old paper-based format of the Unique Property Bulletin to the online version. Well at least the beta-test. So far the site seems to be evolving reasonably well. We have been staggered at how quickly the visit rate has rocketed. This adds to the pleasure keeping the Bulletin alive.

One of the things we have noticed with the excellent website operating system is the diagnostics page. This has shown some curious statistics. We have been trying to figure out why the page at ….


…. is so frequently visited. Even after it has started to fade a little over time, the visit rate to that old page remains solid at around 50 to 60 every day. A friend suggested it was either the bargain price of property featured in that Bulletin edition that has proven interesting, or possibly the fact it featured something quite unusual – even by our standards – Radomes.

In an effort to see if this has any bearing, we have, for the this week’s issue, sought out the best bargain of an unusual property that we could find. Here we have it. You will need to be keen to restore this building given the condition, but the site has to be worth double that money, and worst case scenario, you have some fine masonry on it to start your unique home with!

The church featured above is at 55 Glasgow Road, Muirkirk, KA18 3RQ. Alright it is in poor condition, but there is a reasonable view included too ….

View From Muirkirk Church (c) 2012 Wilsons Auctions

Auction Date: 15th Nov 2012 18:30.


Please consider letting us know how you get on?

You can do this via an email – just click HERE Thank you.


Unique Property Bulletin

Unique Property For Unique People

Air Fields, Air Control Towers, Aircraft Hulls, Air Raid Shelters, Barns, Bridges, BT Telephone Exchanges, Bunkers, Canals, Canal Boats, Castles, Caves, Churches, Cinemas, Coastguard Towers, Customs Houses, Dams, Distilleries, Earth Dwellings, Engine Houses, Fire Stations, Foghorn Buildings, Gasometers, Harbours (For Ships), Helicopter Houses, Hospital Buildings, Hotel Buildings, Ice Houses, Infinite Spaces, Islands – Private, Islands – Small Community, Jails, Keepers’ Houses, Libraries, Lifeboat Stations, Lighthouses, Lodges, Lookout Defences, Loos, Martello Towers, Ministry of Defence Buildings, Movie Sets, Multi Storey Carparks, Nuclear Bunkers, Oil Rig Modules, Police Stations, Post Offices, Printing Works, Pubs, Pump Houses, Queen’s House, Railway Carriages, Railway Stations, Rocket Stations, Schools, Shipping Container Houses, Ships, Ship Hulls Landbased, Signal Boxes, Steam Houses, Stately Homes, Subterranean Dwellings, Toll Houses, Tunnels, Underground Railway Carriages, Underground Stations, Unusual Eccentrics, Valve Houses, Warehouses, Water Towers, Water Works, Wild Cards, Winch Houses, Windmills, Wind Turbines, X Factor, Yachts, Zoos.

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