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Hall at heart of racing for sale
WEALTHY horseracing fans and hoteliers are to battle it out to buy a Georgian country mansion and estate linked to 95 per cent of the world’s thoroughbred racehorses.
Estate agents said the sale of Marske Hall, near Richmond , and its 19-acre grounds overlooking Swaledale had generated strong interest, partly due to its historic importance and being the birthplace of 18th Century stallion Marske, whose descendants include Eclipse, Kauto Star and Desert Orchid.
It is believed the estate, which is on the market at £2.5m, was originally given by William the Conqueror to the Constable of Richmond Castle as a hunting chase.
It was bought in 1596 by the then Archbishop of York, Matthew Hutton, whose son Sir Timothy Hutton, High Sheriff of Yorkshire, started work on the hall.
Subsequent family members made extended the hall, including John Hutton II, who added a quadrangular stable block.
He was an enthusiastic horse breeder whose stallion, Marske, sired the legendary undefeated chestnut colt Eclipse in 1764, which is generally regarded as the origin of contemporary bloodstock.
The hall was used by shooting parties through the 19th Century, although a later John Hutton may have lived there while he founded one of the North’s first banks, the Richmond and Swaledale, in 1804, which was eventually bought by Barclay and Company.
After housing evacuees from Scarborough during the Second World War, local builder George Shaw bought the building and converted it into ten flats, one of which was the childhood home of his granddaughter, Elizabeth Shaw, the vendor.
Nick Talbot, of agents Carter Jonas, said substantial work would be needed to return the 17,000sq ft grade II*- listed house to its former grandeur, but much of the original architecture remained, hidden behind lowered ceilings and partition walls.
He said the estate, which also features several other listed buildings, ornamental ponds and follies, was particularly attractive due to its position within the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
He said: “It has attracted a significant amount of interest becasue it represents a once-ina- lifetime opportunity for someone to make a substantial family home here, or it would work extremely well as a country house hotel or for a similar commercial use.”