Lady Sitwell’s fury at £3m sale of home her ex deemed ‘unsellable’
THE Sitwells were once one of society’s most distinguished families. But the current generation, which includes MasterChef critic William Sitwell and his baronet brother, the former film producer Sir George, were left cursing after they decided to sell the £3.25million Northamptonshire pile which had been in the family for 300 years.
‘S*** happens,’ William said of the sale of Weston Hall, which was held in a family trust.
Now, Sir George’s ex-wife, the model and former face of Royal Ascot Martha Sitwell, has voiced her fury at the sale of the contents of Weston, where Brideshead Revisited author Evelyn Waugh and Noel Coward regularly stayed. The contents are due to go under the hammer at Dreweatts auction house in Berkshire in November.
‘My husband, who I spent 12 years with, who I gave up a promising modelling career for, who now lives in Knightsbridge, has now sold the house that, at the time of our divorce, could never be sold,’ says Lady Sitwell, who divorced Sir George in 2017 and claims she was left almost bankrupt. ‘Now, they are selling the contents which also could never be sold. Should I go back to court to try to get a divorce settlement?’
However, Sir George, 54, who is the great-nephew of poet Dame Edith Sitwell, insists: ‘I have no control whatsoever over the sale of Weston Hall and its contents.’ His brother, 52, has explained that they have joint ownership as beneficiaries of a non-discretionary trust. He said: ‘My grandfather, father, brother and now me have all had a go at keeping the place going.
‘We kicked the can down the road until George Osborne dealt us a death-blow, introducing a six per cent charge on value, payable every ten years.’
Martha, 40, claims, ‘It’s been very unjust’, and tells me: ‘As someone who has never been to court in my life, it wasn’t easy at all. I ended up with a pro-bono lawyer, so I had to read all the court documents myself. It turned into a battle of David and Goliath.’
But in this case Goliath won.