Wednesday, September 02, 2009

English Castle for Sale

A 750 year old English castle is scheduled to be sold, while a slightly newer medieval tower, just 700 years old, has also just been put up for sale.

Hartlebury Castle in Worcestershire may be sold later this month, and three potential bidders have reportedly submitted offers for the 13th century landmark. The castle was the residence of the Bishop of Worcester until 2007, but has now been put up for sale with asking price of £3.5 million.

Two of the bidders are private, but the third is from the Hartlebury Castle Preservation Trust, which is an association of local groups and individuals who want to preserve the castle as a tourist site. The Trust, formed in March of this year, issued a statement on its website outlining its goals for the castle:

"We believe ownership by a charitable trust is the only way to ensure perpetuity of public access to this historic building. We are sure that the public, who already visit the County Museum in large numbers, would welcome the opportunity to visit and use this wonderful building with its beautiful rooms, unique library, lovely gardens, lake and grounds. It should become a major tourist attraction. The Castle would also be an ideal venue for weddings, concerts, exhibitions and many other events. It is unthinkable that the Castle could be allowed to fall into the hands of private developers".

Hartlebury Castle was built around 1260 as a fortified residence for the Bishops of Worcester. It includes the Hurd Library, a special gallery built by Bishop Hurd in 1782 and which still contains his extensive and unique collection of books.

Meanwhile, Lendal Tower in the city of York is now to be advertised for sale for only the second time in its history. The medieval tower was built in the early 14th century, at the foot of the Lendal Bridge that goes over the River Ouse.

The property, which comes with two adjoining Georgian houses, was sold for £1.2m in 2006. Its purchaser, David Hattersley, wanted to turn Lendal Tower into a luxury hotel, but earlier this year his company went bankrupt and the tower was repossessed. The current owners, the Helmsley Group, is now offering the tower for £650,000.

The tower boasts a 30 foot entrance hall with lift to the first floor, where there are two large rooms and a lift to a 35foot space on the second floor. It also has gardens and a roof terrace.

Part of the York tourist trail, the tower was built in 1300 as part of the city's defences.

In 1677 it was leased to the York Water Works company and later passed to Yorkshire Water, whose property arm Keyland sold it to local developers the Helmsley Group in 2004 for about £1m.

See also our Castles for Sale section for more medieval properties.