Published On: Wed, Apr 28th, 2021

SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Sir Benjamin Slade’s 17-bedroom West Country pile goes on the market

He once advertised for a younger wife to provide him with two sons. 

Having seemingly failed in his quest to sire an heir, the flamboyant bachelor baronet Sir Benjamin Slade has now put his West Country pile, Maunsel House, on the market — for an eye-watering £30 million.

The 13th-century manor house, which has 17 bedrooms and 16 bathrooms, and 1,300 acres of land with eight cottages has not been entrusted to a traditional estate agent but is, instead, up for grabs on Facebook Marketplace.

At home: Sir Benjamin, 74, explains the decision to put Maunsel House on the market followed a chat with a visitor from London

Online: The 13th-century manor house, which has 17 bedrooms and 16 bathrooms, and 1,300 acres of land with eight cottages has not been entrusted to a traditional estate agent but is, instead, up for grabs on Facebook Marketplace

Online: The 13th-century manor house, which has 17 bedrooms and 16 bathrooms, and 1,300 acres of land with eight cottages has not been entrusted to a traditional estate agent but is, instead, up for grabs on Facebook Marketplace

Sir Benjamin, 74, explains the decision to put Maunsel House on the market followed a chat with a visitor from London.

He says: ‘Somebody came and said: “We can sell this for 20 or 30 million, no problem at all. We’ve got Arab clients, Russian clients, Chinese clients in London — they just love this sort of thing, just the house and the park.” ’ 

Sir Ben admits that he was pleasantly startled by the price-tag.

Snap it up: The listing can be seen on Facebook featuring a collage of interior snaps alongside a brief description of the property that specifies the 1,300 acres of land the property sits on can be bought separately

Snap it up: The listing can be seen on Facebook featuring a collage of interior snaps alongside a brief description of the property that specifies the 1,300 acres of land the property sits on can be bought separately 

He says: ‘Somebody came and said: “We can sell this for 20 or 30 million, no problem at all. We’ve got Arab clients, Russian clients, Chinese clients in London — they just love this sort of thing, just the house and the park” ’

He says: ‘Somebody came and said: “We can sell this for 20 or 30 million, no problem at all. We’ve got Arab clients, Russian clients, Chinese clients in London — they just love this sort of thing, just the house and the park” ’

Bargain: Sir Ben admits that he was pleasantly startled by the price-tag. ‘Pigs might fly but you never know. I did sell 100 acres last year right at the other end of the estate, through Savills, and I got about a million and a half for that’

Bargain: Sir Ben admits that he was pleasantly startled by the price-tag. ‘Pigs might fly but you never know. I did sell 100 acres last year right at the other end of the estate, through Savills, and I got about a million and a half for that’

Cheap: Maunsel is currently available for rent at £20,000-a-month. ‘I haven’t earned anything in the last 18 months as a result of Covid and lockdown and restrictions,’ he explains. ‘People were booked in to have their weddings but they got postponed’

Cheap: Maunsel is currently available for rent at £20,000-a-month. ‘I haven’t earned anything in the last 18 months as a result of Covid and lockdown and restrictions,’ he explains. ‘People were booked in to have their weddings but they got postponed’

Heirless: He once advertised for a younger wife to provide him with two sons. Having seemingly failed in his quest to sire an heir, the flamboyant bachelor has now put his pile on the market

Heirless: He once advertised for a younger wife to provide him with two sons. Having seemingly failed in his quest to sire an heir, the flamboyant bachelor has now put his pile on the market

‘Pigs might fly but you never know. I did sell 100 acres last year right at the other end of the estate, through Savills, and I got about a million and a half for that.’

Maunsel is currently available for rent at £20,000-a-month. ‘I haven’t earned anything in the last 18 months as a result of Covid and lockdown and restrictions,’ he explains. ‘People were booked in to have their weddings but they got postponed.’ 

Slade was ordered to pay £150,000 in damages in 2019 to two women forced out of their jobs because they were pregnant, but he is still fighting the case. ‘I’m not giving up. I’ve spent £53,000 on the appeal so far. We’re going to carry on.’

Welcoming: The property broker handling the sale is Murtaza Haidermota, 36, who is based in Holland Park, London. Haidermota explains that Slade was ‘very welcoming’ when he visited the Somerset estate

Welcoming: The property broker handling the sale is Murtaza Haidermota, 36, who is based in Holland Park, London. Haidermota explains that Slade was ‘very welcoming’ when he visited the Somerset estate

British buyer: There have been inquiries from Middle Eastern clients as well as some UK hoteliers. But my property mole suggests Maunsel may now become a private residence — for a British buyer

British buyer: There have been inquiries from Middle Eastern clients as well as some UK hoteliers. But my property mole suggests Maunsel may now become a private residence — for a British buyer

Flamboyant: The home is steeped in history and is filled with various artifacts. It's not clear where Slade will store these after selling the property

Flamboyant: The home is steeped in history and is filled with various artifacts. It’s not clear where Slade will store these after selling the property 

Dazzling: A light and airy drawing room is pictured on the Facebook selling page that shows the stunning amount of natural light that comes into the property

Dazzling: A light and airy drawing room is pictured on the Facebook selling page that shows the stunning amount of natural light that comes into the property 

The property broker handling the sale is Murtaza Haidermota, 36, who is based in Holland Park, London. Haidermota explains that Slade was ‘very welcoming’ when he visited the Somerset estate. ‘He showed us all over the house, the land, everything.’

There have been inquiries from Middle Eastern clients as well as some UK hoteliers.

But my property mole suggests Maunsel may now become a private residence — for a British buyer.

‘There are people who are extremely hungry for that amount of land,’ he tells me.

Striking: Earthy tones and bold colours are used throughout the period property which features original fireplaces

 Striking: Earthy tones and bold colours are used throughout the period property which features original fireplaces 

Plenty of room: Even the sweeping spiral staircase is a grand feature of the house, lined with a scarlet carpet

Plenty of room: Even the sweeping spiral staircase is a grand feature of the house, lined with a scarlet carpet 

History: Chaucer used to live at the estate while he wrote the Canterbury Tales. The chapel on the estate is where the inspiration for Chaucer's Wife of Bath was married

History: Chaucer used to live at the estate while he wrote the Canterbury Tales. The chapel on the estate is where the inspiration for Chaucer’s Wife of Bath was married

Susan Penhaligon, who made her name in the TV drama Bouquet Of Barbed Wire, returns to the West End for the first time since the 1980s in the long-running The Mousetrap. Now 71 and thrice married and divorced, Penhaligon admits, however, to having stage fright ‘nightmares’.

‘I had the actor’s dream,’ she says. ‘I was backstage, knowing I had to make an entrance, but wasn’t sure when. Woke up in a sweat, muttering lines from The Mousetrap.’

Fearless Heidi hides nothing when it comes to fashion 

Who needs a catwalk? Supermodel Heidi Klum had no difficulty turning heads when she walked down the street in LA wearing a very revealing outfit. The mother-of-four was on her way to join Simon Cowell to film America’s Got Talent, on which she is a judge.

But before the cameras even started rolling, Heidi, 47, was attracting an audience in a cropped jumper that exposed her black bralette underneath. ‘I’m always a risk-taker,’ she says of her style. ‘I like to show that in my clothes — that I’m fearless, that I don’t always care what people think.’

Who needs a catwalk? Supermodel Heidi Klum had no difficulty turning heads when she walked down the street in LA wearing a very revealing outfit

Wow: ‘I’m always a risk-taker,’ she says of her style ‘I like to show that in my clothes — that I’m fearless, that I don’t always care what people think’

Who needs a catwalk? Supermodel Heidi Klum had no difficulty turning heads when she walked down the street in LA wearing a very revealing outfit

Passion? It’s a rap for Jenny 

She may play a mild-mannered nun in Call The Midwife but Jenny Agutter’s private passions run deep.

‘I love rap,’ she says. ‘ Not violent rap, but artists like Eminem. Rap is a wonderful expressive form of poetry. I like the music of it.

‘My first experience of it was when I lived in LA, and was working with children at a school in a poor black neighbourhood. I can still remember the brilliant Romeo and Juliet rap they did. They really related to the story, especially to the gangs.’

They proved a beautiful backdrop to Prince Philip’s funeral, and now the Queen wants a gardener to look after her prized manicured lawns and shrubs at Windsor Castle. The job comes with the bonus of accommodation. ‘Joining this small team of professional gardeners, you’ll help ensure the royal gardens and surrounding areas are maintained to the highest standards,’ says the advert on the royal website. The successful candidate must have a ‘passion for horticulture’, it says, adding that the salary is ‘dependent on experience’.

I do! Danny kicks the single life into touch 

England rugby union player Danny Cipriani has put his single life to bed after marrying mental health campaigner, Victoria Rose, in a surprise ceremony yesterday.

The 33-year-old, whose exes include glamour models Kelly Brook and Katie Price, and the late TV host Caroline Flack, shared a picture of the ceremony — which, in accordance with Covid guidelines, had no more than 15 people present. Danny and Victoria, 40, who has two children and one grandchild, confirmed their relationship last June after a whirlwind romance, getting engaged in August.

‘We are looking forward to our big day Caribbean-style when travel is permitted,’ says Victoria.

‘Cheers to love, laughter, but especially to our happily ever after. Our adventure begins.’

England rugby union player Danny Cipriani has put his single life to bed after marrying mental health campaigner, Victoria Rose, in a surprise ceremony yesterday

Intimate: The ceremony was attended by close friends and family such as Victoria's son Kameron

England rugby union player Danny Cipriani has put his single life to bed after marrying mental health campaigner, Victoria Rose, in a surprise ceremony yesterday attended by close friends and family such as Victoria’s son Kameron (right) 

The Duchess of Cambridge has cause to celebrate this week as her favourite eco-fashion designer, Lavinia Brennan, has given birth to her first child. I can reveal the 33-year-old, who founded Beulah — a wardrobe staple of royals and Hollywood stars — with Lady Natasha Rufus Isaacs, has welcomed a daughter, Riva.

‘Lavinia is doing amazingly, as is our little girl,’ confirms Lavinia’s husband, champagne salesman Jamie Richards. ‘Words cannot express how proud and lucky I feel right now.’

Kelly — the house guest from Hell 

Interior designer Kelly Hoppen, whose clients have included the Beckhams and Boy George, admits she’s so good at her job that friends have stopped inviting her into their homes in case she points out their flaws.

‘Automatically, when I walk into a room, I can see what’s wrong with it,’ says the former Dragons’ Den star whose preference for a neutral palette earned her the title ‘Queen of Taupe’. ‘It’s an instant thing, which is why so many people don’t invite me over for dinner.

‘But I can’t help it, it’s just the way my brain works.’

Interior designer Kelly Hoppen, whose clients have included the Beckhams and Boy George, admits she’s so good at her job that friends have stopped inviting her into their homes in case she points out their flaws

Interior designer Kelly Hoppen, whose clients have included the Beckhams and Boy George, admits she’s so good at her job that friends have stopped inviting her into their homes in case she points out their flaws

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