Skyrocketing energy prices and the upkeep of such a large properties is forcing some U.K. homeowners to sell estates that have been in their families for generations.
Roderick Thomas has vivid childhood memories of days spent rampaging around Boulston Manor, his grandparents’ late-18th-century country home in Wales, playing chase with his sister and their cousins and exploring its grounds on horseback.
Rochelle Westropp has similar recollections of idyllic summers spent at The Warren, the West London riverside house she, her mother and her grandmother all grew up in.
“I remember having a rope tied around my middle and then being thrown into the river to learn to swim, which was how my mother also learned,” she said. “I remember sitting in the boat house and spitting cherry stones out into the water, and I remember the big tourist boats coming past and everyone waving at us.”
Both houses have been in their respective families for multiple generations and are steeped in tradition. But both are now for sale at a time when estate agents say that an increasing number of British families have come to terms with the fact that passing them down to the next generation is simply not practical.
“There have definitely been more of these houses coming onto the market or being sold privately recently,” said Carol Peett, managing director of West Wales Property Finders http://www.westwalespropertyfinders.co.uk She partly blames the pandemic: Many owners subsidized their country houses by running bed-and-breakfasts or renting them as wedding venues but Covid-19 put an end to this income stream.
“It’s terribly sad,” said Ms. Peett. “They simply cannot afford to keep them.” ….
Mr. Thomas’s grandfather, Birt Llewellin, purchased Boulston Manor in the 1950s after making his fortune in the family butter-churn business. When Mr. Thomas was around 30, his parents inherited the riverside house, which is in the Welsh county of Pembrokeshire, and lived there until his father died in 2002. At that point, he said, his mother realized that the 10-bedroom, 9,128-square-foot house was too large for her to manage alone. She sold to Mr. Thomas and his wife, Jules Thomas, so she could downsize. The Thomases, now in their early 60s, moved into the home in 2003.
Now, after roughly 70 years in the family, the couple have decided to sell Boulston Manor, built in 1797, plus 42 acres of parkland and woodland, a three-bedroom cottage, a former schoolhouse and a barn. It is listed with Country Living Group with a guide price of $2.82 million.
Looking after the property and its grounds is a “pretty much full-time job,” said Mr. Thomas, a retired chartered surveyor. The couple don’t employ any staff and do all the work themselves. It is also too large for two people, and is expensive to run. Its oil and electricity bills total around $12,300 per year, said Mr. Thomas. Average energy bills in the U.K. increased some threefold between the start of 2021 and fall 2022, according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
To offset some costs, the cottage is rented out. Mrs. Thomas runs a four-bedroom bed-and-breakfast business at Boulston Manor. Before the pandemic, the couple also hosted weddings although they wound this side of the business down in 2022 in preparation for the move.
But the real deciding factor here is family ties. The couple’s two grown sons were brought up in the south-coast county of Dorset, 200 miles from Boulston Manor, and consider it their home. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas want to be close to their sons, one of whom recently moved to Dorset and one of whom intends to soon. Their plan is to buy a much smaller place with around four bedrooms and a couple of acres for their rescued English pointer dogs.
The thing that worries Mr. Thomas most about the move is what to do with all the family memorabilia, which include photograph albums, the butter churns designed by his grandfather, and a grand piano. Some, he hopes, will go to a local heritage museum. He will also have to sell pieces of furniture he remembers from boyhood.
“We have been guardians of Boulston Manor for 20 years,” said Mr. Thomas. “It is always difficult letting go but the time has come to pass it on.”……
The Wall Street Journal – Thursday, 19th January 2023 https://www.mansionglobal.com/articles/saying-goodbye-to-their-ancestral-homes-is-a-necessary-yet-terribly-sad-affair-01674144110
If you are looking for a property in Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire or South Ceredigion, give West Wales Property Finders a call on 01834 862816. We can find your perfect property for you whilst saving you time, stress, and often money too.