An English village is for sale with a manor house, pub and 43 cottages on 856 acres. It will take a buyer with deep pockets to acquire this town. There are some people interested, even one alleged billionaire, but it will take a lot of maintenance to keep this property going.
The village for sale is called West Heslerton in North Yorkshire, which has been owned by the Dawnay family for 150 years, has a guide price of $28 million, according to Reuters.
Pictures and aerial footage taken on a bright, sunny day show an idyllic scene. West Heslerton has much of the feel of the village in TV comedy series Last of the Summer Wine, which is set in Yorkshire, although in the hillier Dales area.
To an outsider, West Heslerton might look just like an English village should, but a sister of the former owner isn’t quite so overwhelmed.
“It’s not the prettiest of villages. It wouldn’t go on the front of a chocolate box but my great grandfather, grandfather and father loved it,” Verena Elliott, who lives in London, said.
“We all loved it and it would be very hard to find a village with more loyal and lovely people living in it.”
Her older sister, Eve Dawnay, inherited the village in 1964 on the death of their father.
Eve died in 2010, aged 84, and the property passed to a group of beneficiaries, meaning the only realistic option was to sell it.
The Yorkshire Post described Eve Dawnay as an “endearingly eccentric Oxford-educated spinster.”
Thanks to affordable rents and some clever social engineering, she ensured the English village retained a vibrant community supporting a primary school, and its own football, cricket and bowling teams.
She had moved out of the 21-bedroom West Heslerton Hall into a more manageable four-bedroom home 30 years ago.
Cundalls estate agency director Tom Watson said Dawnay was very kind and property rents were very low.
“This has helped keep a village community with a mixed group of ages and there are obviously a lot of people hoping that somebody with a similar benevolent nature will come along to take over the estate,” he said.
But he was expecting huge interest from developers and investors in the village, which had been “untouched” for 50 years.
“In many respects time has stood still in West Heslerton. There are now endless possibilities to convert buildings, develop plots and explore commercial opportunities,” Watson said.
“But I know that in an ideal world Miss Dawnay’s family would really like to see the estate carry on in a similar vein.”