3 May 2012
All yours for £1.75millon: Entire village for sale includes a haunted castle, a Lordship title, 70 homes and approval for a holiday park
By RICK DEWSBURY
They say every man's home is his castle. But now there's a chance to be a real-life lord of the manor - with this entire village estate on sale for just £1.75 million.
The 22-acre site surrounding Blenkinsopp Castle is close to Haltwhistle, Northumberland, and rivals Downton Abbey for its country estate qualities.
The new owners will even be honoured as Lord and Master, as deeds for the titles are included in the price.
Yours for £1.75m: Current owner Mike Smith looks out over Blenkinsopp Castle and Village as the entire village goes on the market
Drinking hole: The price tag includes the local village pub, pictured, as well as 70 park homes
The hamlet has 70 park homes, a 14th century haunted castle, a public house with a ballroom and approved plans for a holiday park.
There is even rumoured to be buried treasure somewhere within the estate.
Owners Mike, 65, and Lee Simpson, 63, live in a property which is nestled within the ruins of Blenkinsopp castle, a scheduled ancient monument.
Mr Simpson has lived there since he was nine years old since his parents, Charlie and Teenie, bought the village for just £2,000 in 1955.
After they moved in, Pathe films made a short documentary about the sale to the Simpson family which Mike starred in alongside his parents.
Historic: The 14th Century Blenkinsopp in the 1950s before falling into disrepair. The crumbling building is included in the £1.75m asking price
There's no roof, but a colourful bed of tulips decorates the exterior of the ruined castle, which is among the estate the Simpson family for just £2,000 in 1955
Mr Smith next to an information board at the castle on the Blenkinsopp Home Park Estate, and right, standing next to an old fire place from the building
Mr Simpson said: 'We have been here for 57 years, since Friday the 13th of June, 1955, but we’ve actually been really lucky!
'A lot of exciting things have happened here over the years and there is so much history which people will find fascinating.
'Our family took it over which wasn’t the done thing for someone who wasn’t a toff to buy a castle in those days.'
The castle has a rich history since it was reportedly built in 1339 by the Blenkinsopp family and restored by William Lyle Blenkinsopp Coulson in the 1880s.
Rumour has it that the castle is haunted by the White Lady - the widow of money-hungry Bryan de Blenkinsopp, who left her when she would not tell him where she had buried her treasure chest.
The chest has never been found.
The castle burned down in 1954 before it was taken over by Mike’s father, then working as an engineer close-by, a year later.
While the castle initially stood alone, in the late 1950s the accommodation was desperately needed for the hundreds of workers.
Mr Simpson turned the 22-acre site into a caravan park for the workers, and over the years, that site has evolved into a top notch residential complex.
The estate has even been awarded the prestigious David Bellamy Gold Award, unusual for a Park Home Estate.
The couple are selling the estate as they are retiring, but Mike is adamant they won’t be moving far away.
He said: 'It’s going to be strange moving from the house that I’ve lived in for over fifty years.
Memories: Mr Smith, who lives in a property within the ruins, looks over old pictures of the estate, right
The historic castle dates to the 14th Century and it has become a tourist attraction
'Although I could stay and live in one of the homes within the hamlet, I want to make a clean break and not make the new owners think I’m looking over their shoulder all the time.'
Since the castle and its grounds went on the market, there has been a lot of interest in the sale.
Mr Simpson said: 'It’s not every day that a 14th century castle comes on the market and I think that is why there has been so much interest.
'Someone even turned up for a viewing in a helicopter. There is a lot of responsibility with the hamlet as there are 69 families living in the homes here.
'There is the pub as well but we have left that closed rather than appoint new tenants so the next owners can do their own thing there.'
Lord of the manor: Mr Smith enjoys a pint in the local pub, which is part of the estate and comes included with the castle
Neighbours: A collection of the park homes that are included in the estate. A ballroom and approved plans for a holiday park also come for £1.75m
Living in the castle house since he was nine, Mike is extremely sad to be leaving his lifetime home.
'It is a lovely place to live and run, and I will really miss the people in the hamlet because they are all friends to us.
'It will be a big wrench to leave and, when I do go out, I will shed a tear, I promise you that - it has been a very happy home.
'I will probably find it very strange at first living in a small cottage when I’ve been used to this splendour for so long!'
Idyllic: How nearby Haltwhistle, Northumberland, looks on a crisp winter morning
Just three years ago, Mr Simpson and son Gary, of Heritage Consolidation, secured the future of the castle for the next 500 years by carrying out an 18-month restoration project on it.
Morpeth-based estate agent Strutt and Parker is handling the sale of the property, and is extremely excited to be involved in such a high profile case.
Sam Gibson is in charge of the Blenkinsopp sale. He said: 'Blenkinsopp Castle lies in a beautiful rural setting and has been immaculately maintained by the owners.
'The estate has a strong family and community feel, as well as a wonderful sense of history, which makes it a superb place to live while also drawing an attractive income.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2138928/All-1-75millon-Entire-village-sale-includes-haunted-castle-Lordship-title-70-homes-approval-holiday-park.html#ixzz1tqrR0fRO