What price a slice of Bri­tish his­tory?

Liv­ing on a grand scale may be more achiev­able than you think

Country Life Every Week - - Property Market -

Nei­ther a ven­dor nor a buyer be. the past few years have not been kind to sell­ers of large his­toric houses, many of whom have had to re­duce prices in a bid to at­tract pur­chasers, who in turn have had their wings clipped by the whop­ping Stamp Duty (SDLT) bills cur­rently levied on houses sold for more than £2 mil­lion. Now, thanks to the law of un­in­tended con­se­quences, the 20% post-brexit fall in the value of ster­ling has brought over­seas buy­ers knock­ing at the door again, says Jamie Mac­nab of Sav­ills in ed­in­burgh, who saw an im­me­di­ate surge in in­ter­na­tional en­quiries fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment of Bri­tain’s shock de­ci­sion to leave the eu.

‘door Over­seas buy­ers are knock­ing at the again’

Amer­i­can buy­ers have al­ways had a ro­man­tic at­tach­ment to Scot­land and Mr Mac­nab is hop­ing that the new fi­nan­cial or­der will kick­start de­mand for some won­der­ful houses whose prices have been re­duced to a level where they now look ex­cep­tional value for money. One of these is the im­pos­ing, Cat­e­gory A-listed Castle Gogar (Fig 1) —an im­pec­ca­bly re­stored laird’s house set at the end of a long, tree-lined drive in 3.65 acres of beau­ti­fully land­scaped gar­dens and pad­docks in green-belt land six miles west of ed­in­burgh city cen­tre—for which Sav­ills (0131–247 3711) are now seek­ing ‘of­fers over £2.5 mil­lion’.

Dubbed ‘the most ba­ro­nial of ed­in­burgh’s late-16th- and early-17th-cen­tury man­sions’, the castle was built for John Cow­per in 1625 on a tra­di­tional L-plan—prob­a­bly by the ar­chi­tect Wil­liam Ay­ton—on land ac­quired by his fa­ther, Sir John Cow­per, Lord Or­di­nary of the Court of Ses­sion, in 1601. the house was ex­tended in the mid 1700s and again in the 19th cen­tury, when the Scots Ba­ro­nial fea­tures such as the tower and tur­rets were added.

Castle Gogar was owned for more than 200 years by the Steel-mait- lands, un­til the death, in 2002, of the last fam­ily mem­ber. A year later, the castle was bought by the pre­vi­ous owner, who re­stored it with funds gen­er­ated by the sale of four strik­ing con­tem­po­rary houses in the neigh­bour­ing walled gar­den. the new houses were de­signed by Ian Aitken of ed­in­burgh-based ar­chi­tects Yeo­man Mcal­lis­ter, who also over­saw the re­fur­bish­ment of the castle.

In 2007, the present own­ers bought Castle Gogar and fur­ther im­proved it, while re­tain­ing orig­i­nal el­e­ments such as the vaulted crypt and re­cep­tion hall, the turn­pike stair­cases and the tur­rets with ar­row slots and bat­tle­ments. All win­dows have been re­placed, a dis­creet mod­ern heat­ing sys­tem in­stalled, new solid-oak pan­elling added in the hall and din­ing room and high-spec ca­bling fit­ted in all the rooms. Lux­u­ri­ous, top-of-the-range bath­rooms are by Villeroy & Boch and Her­itage, with an im­pres­sive kitchen and master bed­room de­signed by Clive Chris­tian.

Castle Gogar boasts a man­age­able 8,900sq ft of liv­ing space on four floors: ac­com­mo­da­tion in­cludes grand draw­ing and din­ing rooms, a li­brary, a study, a sump­tu­ous master suite with a bath­room, a shower room, a sauna and a dress­ing room, four fur­ther bed­rooms and bath­rooms and a two-bed­room west wing. With un­der­floor heat­ing on the ground floor and in the bath­rooms, it all adds up to a level of com­fort rarely found in his­toric houses north of the border.

South of the border in Cheshire, joint agents Sav­ills and Jack­son-stops & Staff thought the worst of the re­ces­sion was over when, in Au­gust 2013, they launched the clas­sic, Ge­or­gian, Grade Ii*-listed Bulke­ley Hall (Fig 2)

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