A spectacular abandoned mansion, dating from 1905 and set in the Cambridgeshire countryside, has sold for £445,000 at Cheffins Auctioneers in Cambridge on Wednesday 27th September. The property, which was last occupied in the 1950s and then used for agricultural storage before falling derelict following multiple fires during its history, had a pre-auction estimate of £100,000 - £125,000.

Now with only the remains of what was once one of the grandest properties in the local area still standing, the brick-built property sits in 1.12 acres of overgrown gardens with a number of outbuildings and is in need of fully clearing. The outer walls of red brick with stone flashings which remain, hint to the grandeur of the property when it was first built, scaling to an enormous height and with a number of large chimneys and the vast reception spaces which are still visible.

The property was sold by a local retired accountant, who had inherited the property from his father, who bought the house for £900 in 1959. It was sold to a bidder in the room at the Cheffins salerooms in Cambridge.

The house was built for Mr E Sidney Thoday, a seed merchant, who then sold the property in 1910 to William Stanley Spark a stockbroker, who went on to lose his fortune during the 1929 stock market crash. Known as Redlands, the vast 16-room property originally had an imposing entrance with stone steps, leading to vast reception spaces with elaborate mosaic flooring, enormous fireplaces, an expansive cellar, eight bedrooms and servant’s quarters. In its heyday, the house had a balcony running the length of the first floor and a full-size tennis lawn, orchard and extensive gardens reaching to over 1.1 acres, as well as owning a number of acres of surrounding farmland. Following the financial demise of Mr Spark, the property was sold on again to a Russian Lecturer called Mr A Besicovitch, and then after World War II, Mr F L Dawson, a banker, purchased the property. In 1956 a major fire, thought to have been started by an electric heater, ravaged the inside of the house, ruining the interior and much of the roof. The house then suffered two more fires, the worst in 1996 which destroyed all the internal floors, most of the rooms, as well as what had remained of the original roof.

The property is accessed via a private bridge over a dyke, with the main access having been temporarily blocked. Redlands was removed from the rating list in 1996, following the extensive fire damage, and mains electricity, gas and water connections have been capped off.

There is an additional two acres of land, adjacent to Redlands, which were offered at the same auction and sold for £170,000. 

Ian Kitson, Director at Cheffins who is handling the sale comments: “This is an amazing result and goes to show the remaining heat in the market for the right types of property. Doer uppers and projects, if they are in the right location, are still some of the most sought after lots at the auction, and Redlands was a particularly magical proposition which really caught the imaginations of so many potential buyers. We saw a full saleroom on the day of the auction and plenty of activity, which brought a real buzz to the sale. Redlands is a truly unique prospect and there were many buyers out there who wanted the opportunity to return it to its former glory.”

Completely invisible from the road, Redlands is located just outside of Longstanton, six miles northwest of Cambridge. The village has a number of services including a supermarket, post office, doctors’ and dentists’ surgeries, recreation ground and a number of pubs.

The auction took place on Wednesday 27th September, from 2pm, online at www.cheffins.co.uk

For further information, contact Cheffins Property Auction team on 01223 213343, property.auctions@cheffins.co.uk