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Live Like (Well, Near) an Aristocrat: Blenheim Property for Sale

November 4, 2009

For sale: Barn Hill Farm at Blenheim, Oxfordshire

The first Duke of Marlborough rose from lowly page to England's richest citizen.

John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough, was a pretty savvy operator back in the 17th century,  but it’s still hard to imagine his calling the sale of part of his estate an “asset allocation decision.” That’s the phrasing reportedly used by his descendant, Edward Spencer-Churchill, to describe the £1.85 million listing of Barn Hill Farm, a modest yet bucolic homestead on the grounds of Blenheim Palace, the family’s Oxfordshire estate.

Not for sale: Blenheim Palace, setting for Kenneth Branagh's filming of Hamlet.

Maybe he talks that way because Lord Edward, 35 and a son of the current Duke of Malborough (say “mawl-bruh”), is a former management consultant and partner in Sun Capital Partners, Ltd. (not to be confused with the ill-fated Sun Capital, Inc., based in Boca Raton, Fla.). Sun, Ltd., was described by one business publication as “less like a traditional investment fund and more like a club where the members can introduce deals and the others can all participate,” using many of their own millions.

To be fair to the Marlborough scion, it’s hardly new to cash in his family’s 2,100-acre holding, its Baroque “palace,” and the famous names associated with them (including Winston Churchill, who was born at Blenheim). Originally granted in 1704 in gratitude for the first duke’s performance in the War of the Spanish Succession, the estate’s grounds now open regularly to the public. Tours, festivals, wine tastings, trout fishing, “green tourism” and more, are on offer, as is typical since the Second World War for most of England’s vast and heavily taxed “stately homes.” You can even host your own party there or, if you’re not ready to buy, rent a Blenheim home.

If, however, you want to buy outright your new home on the outskirts of nobility, the prosaically named Barn Hill Farm boasts a “fine Victorian farmhouse in outstanding rural location” with “drawing room, dining room, sitting room, study, kitchen/breakfast room, utility room, master bedroom with en suite, further 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, garage and workshop, farm building” and woodland. An additional 200 acres is also available for purchase. And, for those not bound for posh boarding schools, the nearby towns of Charlbury and Stonesfield offer schools, shops, public houses and sports clubs, the listing notes, with train service to Paddington, 74 minutes away.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. McCranky permalink
    November 9, 2009 1:04 pm

    Why don’t you just trade “Oldchester Manor” for the Churchhill place?
    I’d say it’s about an even-up deal. I will be happy to visit all of you there.

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