A castle might be beyond reach but these historic gatehouses cost less aristocratic sums
We all dream of the day when we own a grand house, but for most of us it’s never going to happen. Perhaps that’s one reason why Downton Abbey and Brideshead Revisited became such TV success stories.
However, there is a way that you can buy into the stately home experience in a small way — and at a far more affordable price. Start looking for a gatehouse.
‘Gatehouses were originally defensive features,’ says Roy Porter, senior curator at English Heritage. ‘They are often architecturally interesting because the owner of the big house — knowing the gatehouse to be the first building a visitor would see — would use it to display his wealth, sophistication and taste.
‘In abbey and cathedral grounds, they were used by porters as bases from which to control the access of pilgrims or visitors.’
Gatehouses can make good investments. ‘People love their sense of history and heritage — and they sell well,’ says Ed Church of Strutt & Parker estate agents. ‘They also share the views of the grounds with the main house and are part of it all, by proxy.’
Church could be describing Dave Newman’s gatehouse, outside Weybridge, Surrey, which belonged to the estate that is now Oatlands Park Hotel. The hotel stands on the footprint of a palace built by Henry VIII for his new Queen, Anne of Cleves.hat palace has long since been demolished, but there are still reminders in the grounds of the site’s links with royalty. A cedar tree, one of the first to be brought from the Lebanon, stands in honour of the birth of the Duke of Gloucester.
And the pet cemetery built in the 1700s by the then Duchess of York, complete with headstones, is still on the lawn.
‘We are surrounded by lovely hedges and the grounds are tended by professional gardeners, at no cost to ourselves,’ says Newman, 77, a retired hotelier.
The gatehouse is now on the market priced at £500,000 (johndwood.co.uk).
The charming 74 The Close, Salisbury, for sale for £475,000 (myddeltonmajor.co.uk), is attached to the Harnham Gate that leads into the famous Close for Salisbury Cathedral.
Dating back to the 18th century this Grade I-listed three-bedroom cottage is full of period features, such as gothic arched window panes, but perhaps its biggest selling point is that it is part of The Close community, a rich and diverse collection of characters who have become part of Salisbury folklore.
The author Leslie Thomas, a great raconteur who often wrote for this newspaper, used to relish tales of The Close from his days living there.
‘The word got around that I had written The Virgin Soldiers and some thought the title a little raunchy,’ said Thomas when I chatted with him a few years before he died in 2014. ‘One old dear was heard to say somewhat biblically, “A pornographer has come among us!”’
Thomas lived in The Walton Canonry next to the former prime minister, Sir Edward Heath, who owned Arundells, believed by many to be the most beautiful house in England.
‘Ted was the most famous man in the The Close, but he was the first to invite us to lunch. Looking out from his window to the Cathedral that day I said, “I don’t know how I came to live here. I’m a working-class boy.” Ted said, “So am I.”’
Reminiscent of the great Tudor Palace gatehouse at Hampton Court, it was built in the 16th century for Sir Thomas Cheyney, a courtier. Sir Thomas entertained Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn at the house in October 1532.
Situated in a prime strategic position, overlooking the Thames estuary, the property’s function was to defend London. It was the service wing of a ‘once important medieval house’ and later the home of 266 Squadron during World War II, before it fell into a sad state of disrepair.
In 2006, it was acquired by the Spitalfields Trust, which completely renovated it.
‘My daughter was married here and it made a wonderful setting,’ says Dan O’Donoghue, 71, a champagne importer who has owned Shurland Hall for the past seven years. ‘The Tudor fireplaces are intact and the Georgian windows give it a light and airy feel.’ Shurland Hall is for sale for £2.5 million (fineandcountry.com).
A spellbinding collection of real-life castle homes from nine states across the U.S. have been uncovered with each fairy-tale pad currently listed for sale.
Ranging in price from $38.5million in Hillsborough, California to $787,000 in Lewisville, Texas, these 19 homes feature everything from multiple swimming pools, wine cellars, elevators and movie theatres.
Among the most boastful in luxury seen, The House of Josephine - gifted from a husband to his wife in 1920 - features 10 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms and 18 acres of green in sunny Lake Wales, Florida.
For those especially desiring the fortified, castle-like feel, a white stoned home in Oak Brook, Illinois offers 18-inch thick walls, a full-size elevator and 12 skylights.
Aside from the price, the gorgeous collection appears to offer something for everyone.
For sale: This six bedroom home featuring 12 bathrooms, two pools and two exercise courts in Hillsborough, California is currently on the market for $38,500,000
The updated version: This modernized three-bedroom castle in Los Angeles is currently listed for $19,950,000
Fit for a king: This yellow and white five-bedroom home in St Helena, California is currently listed for $18,950,000 while featuring a swimming pool in its front
White palace: Also seen in St Helena is this four-bedroom on the market for $16,996,000 while featuring an elevator and two-story library
All yours: This five-bedroom home complete with a gym, wine cellar, swimming pool, sauna and spa also has a gated private driveway while listed for $7,000,000 in Los Altos Hills, California
Hideaway: This newly renovated 1912 three-bedroom home in Portola Valley, California featuring a pool, guest house and bocce court, is currently listed for $6,495,000
Chicagoland: This five-bedroom palace featuring 18-inch thick walls, an elevator and 12 skylights is located just outside Chicago in Oak Brook, Illinois, while listed for $4,499,000
Wooded: This five-bedroom 2001-built home in Armonk, New York is listed for $3,999,999
Garden palace: This six-bedroom home in Flourtown, Pennsylvania featuring angled ceilings and winding staircases is listed for $1,895,000
Real-life palace: This beautiful 1885 castle tucked away in Wayne, Illinois features five wood-burning fireplaces and a five-story spire while all together listed for $1,800,000
Spanish estate: This 1920 10-bedroom home called the House of Josephine features 18 acres of green in lake Wales, Florida while listed for $1,599,000
Family home: This five-bedroom home in Lewisville, Texas comes complete with a rock waterfall and slide into a backyard swimming pool, while listed for $1,599,000
The works: This four-bedroom home on 90 acres of land features its own lake, a 14-stall stable for horseback riding as well as a fenced in pasture while listed for $1,593,000 in Elon, North Carolina
Simple life: This four-bedroom home in Santa Rosa, California also features enough space for its own equestrian center while listed for $1,399,000
Emerald palace: This four-bedroom in Lincoln, Massachusetts features a study and a library as well as an extra apartment for a live-in nanny while listed for $1,295,000
American arches: Accompanying each of the four bedrooms are four private bathrooms in this castle situated in Marengo, Illinois while listed for $1,190,000
Golden arches: This two-bedroom home along St Augustine, Florida's shore is listed for $998,000 while equipped with a wine cellar and two-car garage
Fortress: This three-bedroom home in Lincoln, Rhode Island boasts beautiful arched doorways and two cobblestone fireplaces while listed for $849,000
Tiny castle: This five-bedroom in Lewisville, Texas may look small but packs a punch with an additional theatre room and game room while listed for $787,000
According to the Daily Telegraph, all of the properties are currently being advertised by British estate agents and range from a historic Scottish fortress that once belonged to the earls of Fife to a magnificent hilltop palazzo in Italy.
But you'll need deep pockets to afford one, as even the cheapest of the palatial homes will set you back more than £1 million.
Historic: Parts of the magnificent Castello di Collalto just outside Rome date from the 10th century but if you want to move in, you'll have to cough up more than £7m
Spacious: The nine-bedroom castle sleeps up to 19 people and also boasts seven bathrooms and a separate two-bedroom cottage for staff
Spectacular: The 14th century Thurland Castle has been converted into a number of luxury apartments. The three bedroom Cromwell Wing is yours for £1.1m
Renovated: The two main rooms in the Cromwell Wing are of vast mediaeval proportions and have retained their original fireplaces and cornice fittings
Each of the castle dates from a different period, although Westenhanger Castle, near Hythe in Kent, arguably has the most fascinating past.
The castle, a scheduled ancient monument, began life in 1035 during a period of Danish rule under King Canute. Following the Norman Conquest, Westenhanger was passed to a succession of knightly families, including the de Aubervilles, the de Kiriols, the Fogges and the Poynings.
Permission to crenellate was given by Edward III in 1343 and a curtain wall built to connect with the earlier round tower. By the 1540s, the castle was crumbling and it was completely remodelled by its Elizabethan owner, Thomas Smythe, in 1581.
Impressive though Westenhanger is, it isn't the only castle with a history to be proud of on sale. Thurland Castle in Lancashire, although split into several apartments, still retains its moat and was owned by Sir Bryan Tunstall, a heroic soldier immortalised in a poem by Sir William Raleigh.
He was a hero of the Battle of Flodden in 1513, and was dubbed the 'Stainless Knight' by King Henry VII. He was followed by his son Marmaduke, who became High Sheriff of Lancashire.
Magnificent: The 16th Century Lickleyhead Castle in Auchleven near Aberdeen was built in 1560 by William Leith and boasts seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms
Imposing: The drawing room at Lickleyhead Castle, which despite it's vast size, is the cheapest of the castles and costs just £1.3m for the entire property
Cosy: Despite it's impressive size, Lickleyhead Castle is cosily furnished with traditional dark wood in the library (left) and romantic four poster beds (right)
Striking: The cream stone Myres Castle near St Andrews comes with two additional properties and has 10 bedrooms, a library, a Victorian kitchen and a billiards room
Comfortable: Myres Castle was begun in 1454 and was the ancestral home of the earls of Fife. It's now on the market at £2.5m
Later, Thurland was sold to Sir John Girlington, who fought on the Royalist side during the English Civil War. During a 1643 siege, the castle was badly damaged by Parliamentarian forces and was left in a 'ruinous' condition before being restored in the 18th century.
But not all of the homes are in England. Scotland too has a wealth of impressive properties including the pretty 18th century Bonaly Tower, which was the venue for frequent meetings of the 'Friday Club', a group of leading Edinburgh literati, hosted by owner Lord Cockburn.
Others include Myres Castle near St Andrews, the former seat of the earls of Fife, and the imposing Lickleyhead Castle near Aberdeen, which was built by William Leith in 1560.
Outside of the UK, there's a magnificent Italian palazzo dating from the 10th century. But the Castello di Collato near Rome doesn't come cheap. Of all the properties, it is the most expensive and you'll have to hand over £7 million before you get to move in and become king of the castle.
Heritage: Castle Gogar is just six miles from the centre of Edinburgh and was built in Scots Baronial style. It has seven bedrooms and is on the market for £2.9m
Eclectic: Castle Gogar has its own battlements, towers and turrets within, while outside, the property boasts a menage and a stable block with room for three horses
Ancient: Westenhanger Castle in Kent dates from 1035 and the reign of King Canute but was modernised during the reign of Elizabeth II. It is on the market for £2.6m
Elizabethan: Most of the interior owes its shape and size to the first Elizabethan Age and includes period diamond-paned windows and inglenook fireplaces
Famous: The 18th century Bonaly Tower was the venue for frequent meetings of the 'Friday Club', a group of leading Edinburgh literati, hosted by owner Lord Cockburn
Sumptuous: A three-bedroom apartment within Bonaly Tower is on the market at £795,000 and includes a separate study and a slice of the extensive grounds
Then and now: COUNTRY ESTATES
Sprawling £7m estate thought to be last resting place of Robin Hood up for sale for first time in 450 yearsHe is amongst the ultimate figures of folklore, and Robin Hood is well known for having robbed from the rich to give generously to the poor.
But only the very wealthiest will be able to afford the sprawling estate where the legendary outlaw is thought to have been buried.
Kirklees Estate, on the border of the West Yorkshire village of Hartshead, has been valued by London-based agents Strutt and Parker for £7m.
Kirklees Estate in West Yorkshire, where the remains of fabled outlaw Robin Hood are thought to be buried, is up for sale for the first time in centuries
The huge asking price for the estate - which has gone on sale for the first time in 450 years - entitles the buyer to 750 acres of land, as well as the main house itself.
The sale also includes an annexe, two farmhouses and accompanying buildings, as well as a farm manager’s house and expansive woodland and gardens.Formerly a Roman encampment called Kirkless Priory, the site is also, according to folklore, the final resting place of the scourge of the Sheriff of Nottingham himself, who it is believed died there and is buried in a tomb on the site.
As well as the famous burial site, the Kirklees Estate also spans 750 acres of land
The estate, owned by the Armytage family since the 16th century, is on the market for the first time in centuries
Unsurprisingly for a figure whose life has inspired countless re-tellings and myths, the manner of his death is also shrouded in mystery.
Legend has it that Robin Hood, weakened by old age and illness and confined to his bed Hood, managed to pick up his bow and fire an arrow out of the window requesting to be buried where it landed.
To the northwest of his grave and also on the historical site, a Grade II listed monument displays the site of the original Norman encampment.
Scourge of the Sheriff of Nottingham, Robin Hood, is believed to be buried on the huge site
The Priory was constructed in 1135 by Lord of the Manor, Reyner le Flemyng, and remained occupied until Henry VIII the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century.
Estate agent Claire Whitfield, of Strutt and Parker, said: 'It is a unique opportunity to bring a property like this in both its scale and location.
'The estate represents a unique opportunity to create a very special country estate and despite being on the market for just a few days there has been lots of interest.'
Birthplace of former prime minister Sir Anthony Eden
The 25-acre grounds contain stables and staff quarters. Boasts 19th-century clocktower, billiard room, library and original fireplaces
It was used as a POW camp during World War II
Set in 25 acres of lush parkland and boasting a clocktower, stables and servants' quarters, this stately home was birthplace of former Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden in 1897.
So it was no surprise when the 19th-century Windlestone Hall was valued at almost £2million shortly after Durham County Council put it on the market six years ago.
Now, however, with the Grade II* listed magnificent country pile falling into disrespair, it has been sold off at a bargain £241,000.
Piece of history: Windlestone Hall is thought to have been valued at nearly £2million just a few years ago
Sign of distinction: The 19th-century clocktower would have been in place when former Prime Minister Anthony Eden was born here
Deserted for years: The house has not been used since 2003, when a local authority school moved out because it needed major repairs
Elegant decor: One of several ornate ceilings within the beautiful building
In 2010, English Heritage refused the proposals by a developer who wanted to build luxury homes on the site
Is property in France and Spain really that 'cheap' after the euro's dive?Interest in European property on UK search portals is rocketing.
But is it really a good time to buy in the eurozone following the euro's sell-off?
Property is certainly cheaper for those buying in pounds - a €100,000 Normandy cottage now costs around £80,000 compared to £92,000 last summer.
Living the dream: This luxury pad in Costa de La Luz was sold to rugby international Matt Dawson for £1.13m at the top of the market in 2007. It's likely to be worth a fraction of that today
Some claim to offer repossessed flats in Spain at a huge discount with ‘100 per cent mortgages’.
We advise extreme caution about such claims and about diving in full stop.
Spain’s uncertain economic future is one reason to be cautious, but there’s many more, as Dan Hyde and Lauren Thompson explain here.House prices in Spain and France remain dangerously over-priced, based on their historical average versus rents.
This is a good measure to start with.
It gauges fair value for properties in the same way that a price-to-earnings ratio does for a share on the stock market. In short, you divide the price by the annual earnings of a property then compare this against the average for the past 20 years.
Taking the plunge: A fully furnished three-bedroom villa Mazarrón on the Costa Blanca was up for £191,115 last year - but prices are falling fast
It gives an indication of how far out of kilter the market is today versus its historic norm.
Helpfully, The Economist magazine evaluates all major property markets every three months based on this measure and it combines it with another credible gauge - house prices vs wages.
Its latest study in April concluded that house prices in Spain, which were down nearly 7 per cent on a year earlier, were 27 per cent overvalued.
It was far worse for France. The Economist estimated that a 4 per cent annual rise in prices there had left the market a whopping 47 per cent overvalued.
Britain, in contrast, was judged to be 22 per cent too expensive.
Cheap markets include the U.S. and Germany, both are 19 per cent undervalued, and Japan, which is a bargain 35 per cent below fair value.
If you want to get even more technical, economists at the forecasting group, Vox, have taken this measure further to calculate overvaluation. The chart of Spain gives food for thought.
The rents measure is not perfect, or the prices vs wages measure, but they are probably the best we have for valuing property markets.
'FRENCH PROPERTY TO RISE - AND THEN FALL UP TO 20%'Analysis by Danske bank last month painted a gloomy picture for French house prices.
Analyst Frank Olnad Hansen wrote in a broker note: 'We see signs of a bubble in the French housing market and would not be surprised to see French house prices declining 10-20 per cent in coming years.'
Danke said French house prices saw only a minor fall during the financial crisis, rose in 2009 and reached all-time highs in the autumn of 2011 - up 121 per cent since 2000.
It says prices were flat towards the end of last year in Paris and fell slightly in the rest of France, in cities with a population of more than 10,000.
Hansen added: 'The big question is whether this is the beginning of a larger correction in the French housing market. There are several indications that it might be.'
He pointed to signs of a slowdown - fewer mortgages being taken and permits to build new homes - and lenders making provisions for bad debts. He's also concerned about a tightening of the credit purse strings.
'There is little doubt in our minds that the French housing market at the current juncture is vulnerable to a sharp rise in interest rates,' he wrote, although with the current financial woes, the European Central Bank is unlikely to order a hike in the foreseeable future.
Hansen does not believe that the ECB will raise interest rates before 2014 and thinks that French house prices might be able 'to rise strongly on an unsustainable path' for a couple of years making the eventual 'pop' much larger.
Some prefer to latch on to the 'affordability' of property markets (prices vs mortgage repayments) - although it's quite often vested interests keen to talk up the market who do so. Because interest rates are so low, mortgage repayments are low, making markets look cheap.
Other concerns are that the euro, at best, faces more volatility and, at worst, could break up.
Britain's financial future is uncertain but the fortunes of France could be considerably worse if the euro implodes. Spain's economy is already in tatters with unemployment at 25 per cent. And as for Greece, exit from the euro would see property investments crash overnight in sterling terms.
As the Mail on Sunday pointed out this week: 'No one knows how much chaos would result from an exit, if it happened – but the prospect has caused the price of properties in Greece and elsewhere to fall [read the full report].'
Buying Greek property is a huge gamble on the country's future. The odds are slightly better with Spain, but it's still a big roll of the dice.
You should also consider that even if a property market does reach its historic 'fair value', prices could still fall further.
Consider America, which on The Economist's measure, has swung from being wildly overpriced to being 19 per cent too cheap.
But Robert Shiller, the man behind the country's S&P-Case Shiller house price index and a highly regarded economist, says the market has further to fall because of the over-supply of homes: too many were built and remain empty.
Shiller told Bloomberg TV earlier today: 'I'm looking for another 20 per cent decline and that is what it would take to bring them back to the long-term averages.'
It should be noted that Spain has a similar problem with a huge over-supply of houses - and the vast majority of its construction boom was centred on the Costas.
The Economist concludes: 'European house prices came under downward pressure [late in 2011]. The pace of depreciation quickened around the periphery of the eurozone. Appreciation slowed in Germany and France. The euro area’s downturn probably continued into the first quarter of 2012 and may persist beyond that. Unemployment is rising across the continent and banks are under pressure to shore up balance-sheets.
'Prices will struggle to rise in such conditions, in over- and undervalued markets alike.'
C'est la vie: The future price for homes like this four-bedroom villa for sale in Avignon, France, for ¿895,000 is uncertain
How European property markets have faredDespite the crisis engulfing the eurozone, house prices in France have done surprisingly well, rising more than 7 per cent in 2010 and at only a slightly slower pace last year.
Real prices, with inflation factored in, are down 27 per cent since the peak in Spain but down just 7.6 per cent in France. The fall was more than 30 per cent in the UK.
In like-for-like terms, France's homes seem far cheaper than comparatives. A four-bedroom house in Somerset will cost more than double the cost of an equivalent in Normandy, for example. This is largely because France is a sparsely populated country with 295 people per square mile compared with Britain (660 /sq mile) or Germany (593 /sq mile).
So density has a bearing on house prices. But as events have shown in recent years, the state of the economy - and the amount of lending from banks - has the most dynamic impact.
The chart below, from a report by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, shows the markets falling fastest have been Ireland and Spain.
Both countries built far too many homes, encouraged by profligate lending from banks: read our full report.
RICS European house prices league table: The countries with the weakest economies have suffered huge dips
Affluent past: Staff quarters and a stable are situated in the extensive grounds
Born at the hall: Anthony Eden was born at Windlestone in 1897, before going on to become Conservative Prime Minister in the fifties
County Councillor John Shuttleworth said: 'The council might say they have got good value for it, but I wonder.
'My worry is that at a time when the authority needs all the money it can get this is another example of cash being frittered away.'
The council’s bill for securing the hall, £81,000 a year, is thought to be another reason for the sale.
Windlestone was first marketed by the authority in 2006, when it found a buyer who intended converting it and demolishing unlisted parts for luxury flats - but lengthy planning wrangles meant the deal was never concluded.
The new owners do not want their identity to be revealed.
They said: 'It is a private home which is going to be renovated back to its original splendour.'
Michael Gilbey, Durham County Council’s area estate manager, said: 'The council began marketing the property in 2006 and an offer was accepted at that time, but was subject to planning consent.
'The developer spent a number of years negotiating with English Heritage over the scheme, but in 2010 English Heritage refused the proposals.
'We were looking at alternative options when we received an expression of interest, which culminated in the sale of the property.
'We are obliged to obtain the best value for a property.
'In order to meet this requirement, we had to provide 24-hour security for the property while it was vacant, in order to protect it from vandals and metal thieves.'
Gorgeous setting: Windlestone lies within 25 acres of lush parkland
Grand interior: The hall boasts a library with dummy bookshelf, many original staircases and fireplaces - but needs major repairs
The house that time forgot: Hundreds of antiques discovered in country mansion where little has changed in 100 years
Thousands of people have driven past this mansion over the years and looked at its impressive exterior. But few could have imagined the secrets which the 18th Century building holds inside. The mansion, called The Hermitage, in Northumberland, has been described as the house 'that time forgot'.
Antiques: Items untouched for almost 100 years were discovered amongst the 28 rooms in 18th Century mansion The Hermitage in Hexham, Northumberland
Secrets: The cellars of the house included unopened Champagne bottles from 1919, some in their original tissue paper, and wine from 1914
Impressive: Thousands of people would have driven past this stunning house over the years, but few could have guessed about its treasures inside. When auctioneers entered the home recently they discovered a treasure trove of antiques dating back 100 years. Wine from 1914 was discovered along with Champagne from 1919. They also discovered a copy of a 1938 magazine as well as family photographs spanning almost 100 years. Andrew McCoull, managing director of Newcastle based auction house Anderson & Garland, said: 'Time had stood still and the house took on the qualities of a museum. It was a once-in-a-career experience. 'The Hermitage must be one of Hexham's most important and certainly the most hidden home. Thousands will have driven past its entrance, totally oblivious of this fine mansion house. 'The children's toys in the nursery had been left intact. There were christening gowns and rattles sent from London, and charts kept by the children's nanny.
'In the cellars were unopened Champagne bottles from 1919, some in their original tissue paper and packing cases, and 1914 wine. 'Cosmetics and pharmaceutical items, from the 1920s and 1940s, crowded the medicine cupboard. There were diaries and household accounts giving insights into a bygone age of servants, while fishing and hunting records spoke of house parties.
For sale: The contents of the house on the edge of Hexham, described as a 'treasure trove' will be auctioned in 1,500 lots in Newcastle
Ancient: Pharmaceutical items from the 1920s crowded this medicine cupboard. 'Clothes, including military uniforms, were hanging up as if they had just been taken off. 'In the library there was a copy of a 1938 edition of The Field magazine in the rack and there were family photographs spanning almost 100 years. 'In the main bedroom there were wash bowl sets and rooms had wallpaper from the 1920s and 1930s.' The house had been let by owners the Allgood family in 1922 to Brigadier General Hubert Horatio Morant, who had married Isabella Helen Coppin Straker in 1914. Their three children, Doreen Shirley, who died earlier this year, Alice Bettine, who died in 2008, and Major John Locke Straker, who passed away in 1971, all remained unmarried. The contents of the house on the edge of Hexham, described by Mr McCoull as a 'treasure trove', will be auctioned in 1,500 lots at Anderson & Garland's Newcastle base from June 18-21.
Hidden: This now empty 18th Century building had become a time capsule. This image shows the inside of one of the rooms
Stored away were also Brigadier General Morant's diaries and letters to his wife from the First World War.
Historic: Jackie Eltringham tries on a Durham Light Infantry helmet - one of the items discovered in the Hermitage. 'What was striking was the enormity of it all, the sheer quantity of memorabilia and ephemera which would normally have been thrown out and which told how a family in the inter-war years lived, and what they did,' said Mr McCoull. 'The Hermitage is a rare survival of a house on a grand scale where the Morant family lived for 90 years and threw little away. 'Items no longer required were neatly wrapped in newspaper, tied with string and stored in the extensive attics. The contents offer us a rare glimpse of life in the inter-war period. 'Only once in a career are you fortunate enough to see a home such as this which has been inhabited but - highly unusually - also left alone to this extent. 'With the sheer scale of the property, the family's possessions could be stored in different cupboards, rooms, lofts and buildings and little was ever disposed of. 'As such, stepping into The Hermitage has been like stepping back in time. The sisters were characters and involved in the community.' Simon Morant, a cousin of the family, said: 'Following the death of Brigadier General Morant and his wife, their son and two daughters stayed at the property until they also died. 'I knew the two Miss Morants, Doreen and Bettine, and had the opportunity to go around the property. That said, even I was not aware to what extent their goods and belongings had accumulated. 'We have taken some of the more poignant things from the estate, including letters from 1840 between my family and theirs, but we very much hope that the remainder of the belongings go somewhere where they will be appreciated.'
|Opulent fashion: Classical mouldings shaped like swirling leaves and baskets of flowers decorate walls and ceilings throughout the mansion|
The rock-bottom selling price of the beautiful building is particularly bizarre in view of its grand history and beautiful features.
The U-shaped home, near Rushyford, County Durham, has a billiard room, a library with a dummy bookcase leading to its gallery, stables, separate staff quarters and many original marble fireplaces.Elegant Doric columns and triglyph friezes adorn the house alongside Tudor and Jacobean finishings and classical mouldings shaped like swirling leaves, baskets of flowers and thick trails of plants.
Although in need of urgent repair work, its final selling price has prompted anger from one councillor, who claims owners Durham County Council could have made up to £2million on the sale.
Enduring designs: Map showing the listed buildings in and around the 19th-century home. 'As the hall is a grade II* listed building, we were obliged by law to protect and maintain it while it was under our ownership. The house had a 12-bay balustraded frontage to the east and a balustaded Doric order colonnade across nine bays of the ground floor.
On the death of the fifth Baronet in 1844, the estate and Baronetcy passed to his cousin, Sir William Eden, the fourth Eden of Maryland Baronet and High Sheriff of Durham in 1848.
Anthony Eden was born there in 1897 and later served as a cabinet minister before becoming prime minister from 1955 to 1957.
The estate was then used as a prisoner of war camp for female German prisoners during the Second World War, and afterwards adapted by the council to serve as a school for youngsters with emotional and behavioral difficulties for nearly 50 years.
Glorious countryside: An earlier prospective buyer wanted to build luxury flats on the site - but the new owners intend to restore the home to its former splendor.
One of Britain's most expensive country homes has gone on the market - and it really is fit for a Queen. The Grade I listed Mynde Park, set in a 1,180-acre estate, has a right royal price tag - a princely £15m. But the estate agents handling the sale say there is no shortage of potential buyers wanting to view the property.
Home fit for royalty: Mynde Park is Grade I listed and was completely renovated over a three year project by the current owners. The Queen held a picnic here in rural Herefordshire for 3,000 guests in 2003
It is one of Britain's most expensive country homes and has gone on the market for £15million. Craig Hamilton, the renowned architect, oversaw the restoration including the kitchen and study extension with private walled garden
‘The King’s Hall was described by Nikolaus Pevsner (architectural historian) as 'the finest room in Herefordshire', and has vast ceiling heights and remarkable plaster work. It takes up a large proportion of the house.
Listed: The house has 12 bedrooms, 10 of them ensuites, a drawing room, library, study and morning room. The spacious master bedroom has two dressing rooms, bathroom and shower
Stately: The estate agents handling the sale say there is no shortage of potential buyer. The extended kitchen is a wonderful family space with dining and sitting area with door out to the garden
And the guided tour can take up to four hours because there's so much to see. The Queen held a picnic at the property in rural Herefordshire for 3,000 guests. Clive Hopkins, head of Farms and Estates for Knight Frank estate agents, said: 'It is a unique property, one of the finest anywhere in the country. 'We are getting interest from international clients, from Eastern Europe and other parts of the world.'
The dining room retains its original panelling, has a fireplace at either end and would comfortably seat at least 24 people
The guided tour of the house can take up to four hours because there's so much to see. The drawing room, off the great hall, is one of the many entertaining spaces in the house
Mynde Park dates back to 1350 and was once the home of Walter Pye, attorney-general to Charles I. The library room enjoys views over the surrounding countryside. But the house also has 12 bedrooms, 10 of them ensuites, a drawing room, library, study, morning room, billiard room, games room, two kitchens and various cellars. The London office of Knight Frank describe the house near the village of Much Dewchurch as 'deceptively compact' inside. A separate five-bedroomed house - the Little Mynde - stands in the grounds, along with six cottages and an entrance lodge. The manor is approached along a mile-long private 'carriage drive' with views of the swimming pool, gardens, lake and the surrounding Herefordshire countryside. Local historians said Mynde Park dates back to 1350 and was once the home of Walter Pye, attorney-general to Charles I.
Mynde Park house is set in 1,180-acres of prime arable land with stunning undulating countryside
Mynde Park has views looking out over its own lake
The house was later acquired by the Duke of Chandos who, in 1709, added the King's Hall with its Buggatti and Attari plasterwork. It is currently owned by Caroline and Audley Twiston-Davies, whose daughter Antonia was a God-daughter of Princess Diana.
The Twiston-Davies family spent four years and millions of pounds restoring the manor house to its former glory 10 years ago. The estate hosted the Queen, Prince Philip and 3,000 guests at a picnic in the grounds in 2003. Mr Hopkins said: 'The joy of the manor house is it stands in the middle of its own land at the end of a mile-long drive. 'It will appeal to someone who wishes to be the master of all they survey. 'It is a rare property because this isn't about the location - it could be anywhere in Britain. 'It's all about the property, its grounds and its history,. That's what makes it unique. 'It's only been on the market for two weeks but it is attracting a lot of people and we've shown a few around.'
The great outdoors: The house has been on the market for two weeks but is already attracting a lot of interest
The estate hosted the Queen, Prince Philip and 3,000 guests at a picnic in the grounds in 2003
Regal: The agents handling the sale say there is no shortage of potential buyers wanting to view the house
|A lavish Californian mansion is up for sale for $100million (£60million) - but the price tag appears to be a bit too hefty, because there are still no takers a year after it was first advertised.The house in Hillsborough has 16,000 square feet of floor space and was put on the market in 2013 for the first time in 100 years, by Sotheby's.The potential new owners will have a mansion that boasts seven bedrooms and is just a short drive away from San Francisco's iconic Golden Gate Bridge and world-famous Alcatraz prison.|
Surrounded by 47 secluded acres of grounds, the property includes 10 bathrooms, a grand-scale ballroom and a fully-stocked library, with the interiors designed by the acclaimed Anthony Hail.Lucky owners can enjoy margaritas in the sun-drenched pool courtyard while taking in the stunning panoramic views of the East Bay.The property has been put up for sale by Christian de Guigne IV, whose great-grandparents built the house.
He used to live in the house with his wife, Vaughn, who he divorced in 2002. According to court documents it was staffed by two housekeepers, three gardeners, a laundress, chef, childcare provider and a part-time chauffeur - and cost $450,000 a year to run.He said: ‘It's on the market for the first time in nearly 100 years, and this eye-catching property gives commanding views of the bay like no other.‘The property is surrounded by 47 acres of exceptionally rare land and it is one of the largest undeveloped lots known to the town of Hillsborough.’Christian is currently retaining a life estate in the lavish property, giving him exclusive use of the house during his lifetime.
House about that: The opulent mansion is on the market for the first time in 100 years
Size matters: The new owners will have plenty of space to relax and entertain guests
Luxury: The house is adorned with fine furniture and fittings
Splash the cash: You'll need to be swimming in money to afford the property
Handy: The swimming pool is just yards from the main house
Grand: The property is fit for royalty
Stately: A fine chandelier adorns this regal room
This satellite image shows the incredible extent of the mansion's grounds
Flower power: Neighbours must be green with envy at the mansion's garden
Expansive: The nearest neighbours are quite a distance away
Way to mow: The new owners might need a little help to keep the grounds in good order
Soothing: The new owners will be able to stroll amongst rows of flowerbeds
Leafy: The grounds feature plenty of trees and greenery
The property has been put up for sale by Christian de Guigne IV, whose grandparents built the house
Stairway to heaven: Every part of the mansion oozes luxury
A £1m street (lighthouse not included): Five cottages in Britain's most isolated street.... and some of our best sea views are thrown in for freeYours for less than £1million, an entire row of cottages ... with one very large street light.
Perched on the top of a cliff, the five properties boast south-facing gardens and sea views.
But there is one snag – you will probably need extra-thick curtains because there’s a fully-operational lighthouse and helipad on your doorstep.
Awesome view: Four of the five cottages date back to 1938 with the last built around 1970
Clifftop: The five properties can be seen, right, next to a helicopter launch pad and a lighthouse which is now unoccupied
The cottages situated on St Ann’s Head on the south west tip of Pembrokeshire in Wales used to be used as accommodation for lighthouse keepers.
But they have been empty for over a decade since the lighthouse became automated.
Consisting of four three-bedroom houses and one with two bedrooms, the whole row is on the market for £950,000. They are currently owned by Trinity House Corporation, which maintains all of the functioning lighthouses in England and Wales.
Amy Thomas, of Cardiff-based chartered surveyors Cooke and Arkwright, said: ‘This is a fantastic opportunity to purchase a property in a unique and idyllic coastal location.‘They offer a perfect opportunity for someone looking for a renovation project.’
It would be the perfect hideaway for anyone who has sung along to the song: 'I want to marry a lighthouse keeper...'
The terrace of cottages has been lying empty for a decade and they are being sold by Trinity House who run all the lighthouses in England and Wales. They have been given a list price of £950,000.
The two lighthouses on the section of coastline have been electrified since 1998.
Estate agent Amy Thomas said: 'It is a fantastic opportunity to purchase a property in a unique and idyllic coastal location.
'The cottages were previously used to house the lighthouse keepers and their families, looking after various lights along the Pembrokeshire coastline.
Lighthouse keeper's properties with a sea view: The five clifftop properties at St Ann's Head in Pembrokeshire, three miles from the nearest town. The lighthouse is not for sale
'The cottages have been vacant for approximately 10 years - and are in need refurbishment.
'However, they offer a perfect opportunity for someone looking for a renovation project.'
The idyllic cottages are part of a complex of properties at the remote spot.
Also on the site but not for sale are two lighthouses, a helipad, a helicopter transit lounge and a former fog horn house.
The money from the sale will go to the Trinity House Corporation which has maintained lighthouses and safety for mariners since they were granted a Royal Charter in 1514.
Four of the five cottages date back to 1938 with the last built around 1970.
A lighthouse has been on the site since 1712 to warn seafarers of the dangerous jagged rocks jutting in the Irish Sea.
Miss Thomas, of Cardiff-based agents Cooke and Arkwright, said: 'Two lighthouses were were fuelled by coal fires.
Amazing sea view: The row of cottages which are also available for sale individually. They are all in a poor state of repair
Stunning: The five properties, available for less than £1m together, have some of the best coastal views in Britain but all require modernisation as they have been empty for a decade
'The existing lighthouse tower was constructed in 1844. The lighthouse was electrified in 1958 and automated in 1998.'
The lighthouse will carry on blinking away on the headland as a warning to shipping lighting up the night sky outside.
The nearest village of Dale is three miles away - but the real beauty is the panoramic views of the islands of Skomer and Skokholm with puffins, manx shearwaters and guillemots.
Four of the five homes have three bedrooms while the last one has two bedrooms. Each boasts nine-inch thick walls to withstand the battering of the sea and winds.
But Miss Thomas warned: 'The cottages have been vacant for some time and require total refurbishment. But it could be a bargain for the right person.'
Remote hideaway: The five terraced homes at St Anne's Head, are at one of the most westerly points in Wales
Run down: The properties were occupied by lighthouse keepers but the lighthouses were electrified in 1998 so they are no longer needed
Green: The cottages have stunning views and there is a helicopter pad nearby. It is thought that a developer may purchase them to renovate
Spectacular: The row of five terraced properties virtually stand alone on the remote, but beautiful, stretch of coastline
Coastal paradise: Four of the five homes have three bedrooms while the last one has two bedrooms. Each boasts nine-inch thick walls to withstand the battering of the sea and
Looks perfect, but is that tenth bedroom a little on the small side? Super wealthy prospective house buyers are being provided with a novel try-before-you-buy scheme to entice them to part with vast sums of money for a deluxe new home. Property company Clarenco has made the unusual offer after deciding to sell six properties in its portfolio, including stately homes and a castle.
With it's unusual frontage and thatched roof eight bedroom Happisburgh Manor in Norfolk looks like an idyllic country home. It also comes with a heated pool and is on the market for £800,000
White meets beige in a bedroom at Happisburgh Manor in Norfolk and the wide windows ensure plenty of light gets in
Wooden paneling and beams give the dining room at Happisburgh Manor an airy light feel, while the giant rug adds an air of decadence
The modern-looking gym at Happisburgh Manor is complete with a rowing machine and a bike. It also has a massage bed in the adjacent room
The drawing room at Happisburgh Manor features a fire and a coat of arms. There is also a huge mirror and plenty of comfortable chairs
Potential purchasers are being given the chance to rent out country piles for a weekend to get a true feel of what it would be like to live there. If they go on to buy the property the rental cost will be taken off the sale price.
The stunning homes which went on the market in August were all bought and restored by Clarenco in 2010 and include Happisburgh Manor in Norfolk - with a price tag of £800,000 and Tempsford Mill in Bedfordshire, on sale for £2.8million.
the properties are currently being used as holiday lets, while a sixth, Bath Lodge Castle, is a hotel. However, all are now being sold as individual residencies.
Despite each boasting between eight and ten bedrooms, the properties are actually the smallest in Clarenco's portfolio which also features an abbey and a Napoleonic sea port.
The stunning Tempsford Mill in Bedfordshire overlooks the River Ivel and includes 6.5 acres of land. It also comes with a renovated old mill, a newer extension and outbuildings - it is on the market for £2.8million
The main bedroom at Tempsford Mill has a crisp but simple finish and features a striking purple-backed double bed
Although it has a modern finish the kitchen at Tempsford Mill still has original features from its former days as a mill
There is plenty of room to entertain guests in the main lounge at Tempsford Mill on the white sofas complete with plack and gold cushions
The dining room at Tempsford Mill oozes with elegance and features a large window and bookshelf
Clarenco was established by Dream beds founder Mike Clare, and estate's director David Lobb said he hoped the decision to market the properties in such an unusual way would prove to be a successful one.
He said: 'Given the unique nature of the properties and difficult market conditions, we are looking for a different approach to selling the properties.
'Every year hundreds of people take a luxury break in our fully refurbished country retreats and comment on how beautiful and unusual each of them are. This offer gives potential buyers a chance to experience their beauty and tranquillity before they decide if they want to own one of them.'
Managing director, Suzanne Taylor added: 'The sale of the properties is to fund the expansion of the Clarenco portfolio of unusual and luxury venues in the UK, which are used for weddings, exclusive use, corporate hire and luxury breaks.'
Set in 3.5 acres the historic Bath Lodge Castle near bath features ten bedrooms as well as a huge garden and woodland. Starting price is £1.75million
With purple curtains and a period piece wardrobe in the corner the main bedroom at Bath Lodge Castle looks fit for royalty
The chandelier hangs over the beautiful rustic wooden table in the dining room area at Bath Lodge Castle
Candles in the ceiling light up the table to give a sense of medieval times at the long dining table in Bath Lodge Castle
Stone walls and a striking fireplace stand out as the feature pieces in the drawing room at Bath Lodge Castle
The large reception area at Bath Lodge Castle is furnished with large leather chairs a stag light stand and a antique wooden chair
The properties are available for rent at between £550 and £1,500 a night.
Two of the properties for sale are being marketed by Savills: Beau Castle in Worcestershire (£2.3million) and Bath Lodge Castle in Somerset (£1.75million). Plas Cilybebyll, a beautiful nine-bedroom home in Neath (£1.5million) is being sold by Savills and Fine & Country.
Happisburgh Manor (£800,000) and Old Morley Hall in Norfolk (£2.5million) are being sold by Savills and Strutt & Parker; Tempsford Mill (£2.8million) in Bedrforshire is being sold by Fine & Country.
The interestingly-shaped Beau Castle in Worcestershire is located on a hill overlooking Wyre Forest and includes nine bedrooms. Offers start at £2.8million
Even the toilet looks special at Beau Castle with steps leading up to it. The bathroom also features a huge mirror and plenty of cupboard space
The Beverly Hills mansion that featured in The Godfather and The Bodyguard, and provided a romantic retreat for John F Kennedy and his new bride Jackie on their honeymoon, is being listed for $135 million.
The historic mansion, set on six acres of land close to Sunset Boulevard, has had only four owners since it was built in the 1920s, but countless A-list celebrities, royalty and high-profile figures have been guests there.
From the honeymooning Kennedys, to parties for Rihanna and Prince Albert of Monaco, the legendary Beverly House had become nearly as famous as those who have graced its rooms.
Starring role: Beverly House has appeared in several films, including The Godfather and The Bodyguard
Romantic retreat: The lavish estate was used by the Kennedys on their honeymoon
The sprawling estate, which includes a 50,000sq ft house, cascading waterfalls leading to a swimming pool, and a two-story library, is a mix of period features and luxurious flourishes.
A spa, 22ft tall hand-painted arched ceiling, billiards room complete with a carved fireplace from Hearst Castle in California, and parquet flooring are just some of the features in the 30-bedroom, 40-bathroom estate. Current owner Leonard Ross, who bought the mansion in 1976 when he was just 31, said it takes two hours to show prospective buyers around.
He paid $2 million for the house, but told ABC News that despite its current $135 million price tag the property was an 'investment that could only go up in value'.
He admitted that when he bought the property it was 'much larger than I needed'.
New chapter: The two-story library comes with an open fireplace, wood paneling and carved ceiling
Original features: The parquet floor and stone fireplace in the billiards room were installed when the house was built in the 1920s
The iconic home, made famous by the horse head scene in The Godfather, is being listed byHilton Hyland, who describe it as a 'perfect combination of Italian and Spanish style'.
The property has an outside terrace that can seat 400 for dinner, an art deco nightclub, tennis courts, gym and array of guest cottages and accommodation for staff.
Built out of terracotta stucco, the H-shaped residence combines Spanish and Italian style. It has intricately carved ceilings and paneled walls, French doors, balconies, arched ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows, which overlook the pool and Venetian columns beyond the pool house.
Alongside financier Ross, previous owners included newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, who was given the house as a gift by actress Marion Davies, and banking executive Milton Getz, who commissioned Hoover Dam architect Gordon Kaufmann to build the home.
Star billing: The $135 million estate appeared in The Bodyguard, above, as the home of the character played by Whitney Houston
Dream home: It may have appeared in one of the nightmarish scenes from The Godfather, but Beverly House would be a fantasy for many people
Honeymoon: Jackie and John F Kennedy stayed at the luxury estate after their wedding in Newport
Room with a view: Huge windows overlooking the gardens and a door opening on to a terrace are found in the dining room
Historic: The home was built in 1925 by architect Gordon Kaufman, who is best known for his work on the Hoover Dam
Stylish: The H-shaped home has a flair of Spanish and Italian design
Party place: A nightclub, pool and terrace that can seat 400 people make Beverly House perfect for entertaining
|Remote: Remarkable aerial image of the coastline shows just how isolated the five properties are|
California isn't what it used to be, back in the days of swimming pools and movie stars. The state grew at a slower clip the past decade than during any other in its 160-year history, according to the census. Demographers question whether the boom-time growth will ever return. Click on a photo to compare a historical image — when the area was up-and-coming — to a present-day image.
What do Scottsdale, Arizona, Syracuse in upstate New York and the San Juan Islands off Washington have in common? They are all home to some of the most architecturally inspiring addresses in the United States.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has handed out the 2012 Housing Awards to projects at the pinnacle of design, creativity and sustainability.
The jury recognized projects in four categories - custom-built homes for one family, large structures which sleep many individuals in their own apartments and specialized buildings such as community centers.
The ten homes selected were: The Nakahouse, a space-age home in the Hollywood Hills; Relic Rock, a luxury home in Scottsdale, Arizona; The Pierre, a strange stone inspired home in the San Juan Islands off Washington state; The Camelview Village, a futuristic condo complex in Scottsdale, Arizona; Hampden Lane House in Bethesda, Maryland; The Live Work Home in Syracuse, New York; the luxury Carmel residence in Carmel-by-Sea, California; a new Jesuit Community centre in Fairfield, Connecticut; new low-budget homes in San Francisco and new college halls of residence in Houston, Texas.
All rooms flow from a central courtyard with nooks for the kitchen and office spaces. Areas are separated by screens of solid mahogany and steel which move to allow air and light to circulate throughout the home.
Design for life: wo new residential colleges at Houston's Rice University have also been nominated
For years, the Citroen 2CV was the laughing stock of British roads.
The upturned pram or tin snail was slow and old fashioned. Conceived before the war, to carry a farmer’s eggs across a rough field, nearly 5million ‘ugly ducks’ were sold.
The last of the quirky little French cars left British showrooms in 1990 costing £4,552 on the road.
But the 2CV has now, most definitely, had the last laugh.
Prices for the 600cc deux chevaux are now rocketing, with refurbished cars selling for £11,000.
The incredible origami house that can change its shape to face the Sun
There are houses for cold climates, which are designed to keep in the precious warmth; there are houses for hot climates where architecture allows for air to sweep through and keep inhabitants cool. However, until now, the two were difficult to combine. But this new incredible folding house is able to, in the words of its creators, 'metamorphosize' into eight different configurations to adapt to seasonal, meteorological and even astronomical conditions.
Autobots, transform! This computer generated graphic shows the incredible concept for a house that can 'metamorphosize' into eight different configurations depending on the weather
For example, in the summer plan, bedroom one faces east and watches the sun rise as its inhabitants wakes up. It can then rotate so that the user is constantly in sunlight, while the house generates energy through its solar panels. The revolutionary home is based on the work of an early 20th Century mathematician who discovered a way to dissect a square and rearrange its parts into an equilateral triangle. The flexibility of the house allows adaptation from winter to summer and day to night by literally moving inside itself. Thick heavy external walls unfold into internal walls allowing glass internal walls to become facades; doors can become windows, and vice versa. The layout consists of two bedrooms, an open-plan living room and a bathroom, but it too can be adapted to suit the needs of different living situations.
Design: The revolutionary home is based on the work of an early 20th Century mathematician who discovered a way to dissect a square and rearrange its parts into an equilateral triangle
Adaptable: Thick heavy external walls unfold into internal walls allowing glass internal walls to become facades; doors can become windows, and vice versa
Living space: The layout consists of two bedrooms, an open-plan living room and a bathroom, but it too can be adapted to suit the needs of different living situations. The incredible house is the brainchild of British architects David Grunberg and Daniel Woolfson, who launched the D*Haus company to develop the concept. The shape-shifting home was first conceived as part of Mr Grunberg's graduation project, for which he designed a house that could withstand the extreme sub-Arctic temperatures in Lap Land, a region infamous for its harsh weather. The pair's design, which they call D*Dynamic, is based on the work of English author and mathematician Henry Dudeney, a leading puzzle creator. In 1903 Dudeney invented a way to cut an equilateral triangle into four pieces that could be rearranged into a square, a conundrum he dubbed the 'Haberdasher's Puzzle'. The D*Dynamic house realises this mathematical curiousity as a solution to living in extreme climates. Sections would fold out on rails so interior partitions could become exterior walls in warm weather. The whole building could even rotate to follow the direction of the Sun throughout the day.
Now watch the D*Dynamic house transform. In a release, D*Haus describe their house, which is yet to be built, as 'a product of an applied mathematical realisation'. 'The D*Haus Company is set to cause a revolution in architecture and design by transforming Dudeney’s idea from the conceptual, to the physical,' the release adds. 'Inspired by Dudeney’s logic puzzle, each D*Haus dwelling is capable of adapting to changing patterns of living in the future. 'D*Haus is continuing the journey that Dudeney began by breathing new life into a century-old concept; not only to define a space, but a lifestyle.'
INSPIRED BY THE WORK OF A BRILLIANT AMATEUR MATHEMATICIAN
Henry Ernest Dudeney (April 10, 1857 – April 23, 1930) was an English author and mathematician who specialised in logic puzzles and mathematical games. He is known as one of the country's foremost creators of puzzles.
Mathematical basis: Henry Dudeney's Haberdasher's Puzzle inspired the design of the house. Although Dudeney spent his career in the Civil Service, he continued to devise various problems and puzzles. Dudeney's first puzzle contributions were submissions to newspapers and magazines, often under the pseudonym of "Sphinx." Dudeney later contributed puzzles under his real name to publications such as The Weekly Dispatch, The Queen, Blighty, and Cassell's Magazine. For twenty years, he had a successful column, "Perplexities", in The Strand Magazine. One of Dudeney's most famous innovations was his 1903 success at solving the Haberdasher's Puzzle, which involved cutting an equilateral triangle into four pieces that can be rearranged to make a square. A remarkable feature of Dudeney's solution is that the each of the pieces can be hinged at one vertex, forming a chain that can be folded into the square or the original triangle. Two of the hinges bisect sides of the triangle, while the third hinge and the corner of the large piece on the base cut the base in the approximate ratio 0.982: 2: 1.018. Dudeney showed just such a model of the solution, made of polished mahogany with brass hinges, at a meeting of the Royal Society on May 17, 1905.
Raise the drawbridge! Rich homeowners are going medieval to protect their homes and installing MOATS
In the never-ending search for exclusivity amongst high-end home-buyers the latest must-have feature is to have a moat encircling your property.
Back in medieval times, moats served as a line of defense from marauders, but nowadays the concept has been re-branded by exclusive architects as ‘wraparound water features.’
Celebrity home-owners are of course ahead of the curve on this kind of thing and so supermodel Gisele Bundchen and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had a moat included as part of their $20 million French-style estate in Brentwood, California, which they moved into earlier this year.
Supermodel Gisele Bundchen and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had a moat included as part of their $20 million French-style estate in Brentwood, California
The couple's extensive water feature looks more like a winding stream than a means of defense and is home to some expensive koi fish rather than alligators. A stone bridge leads to the main entry.
The amazing property was the work of architect Richard Landry, one of the hot designers credited with creating this new trend. Another celebrity who was at the forefront of the trend for ‘wraparound water features’ is Jennifer Lopez. The star’s former home in Bel-Air, which recently resold for $10 million, includes an arched footbridge and a cobblestone driveway cross a stone-lined waterway that encircles the French-style villa.
Jennifer Lopez's former Bel-Air home included an arched footbridge and a cobblestone driveway cross a stone-lined waterway that encircled the villa
Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte in France: Moats were historically deep, broad ditches used to provide castles and towns with a preliminary line of defense
Moats were historically deep, broad ditches used to provide castles and towns with a preliminary line of defense.
In some places, moats evolved into more extensive water defense systems, including lakes and dams, though in later periods they became largely ornamental.
The modern day equivalent have taken on a much more atheistically pleasing design features.
At one $36-million Beverly Hills contemporary, a narrow ‘demi-moat’ serves a practical purpose and takes the place of a guardrail, which would have obstructed the outstanding views of the city.
Christina Aguilera's fabulous mansion: 'Wraparound water features' are all the rage with architects building properties for the rich and famous