A historic mansion house in Shropshire has gone on the market for £5 million, and is looking for just its fourth new owner in more than 550 years.
The 80-room Hawkstone Hall, in Marchamley, near Wem, is the former home of the Hill family – including Rowland Hill, who was the Duke of Wellington's deputy at the Battle of Waterloo.
For the last 85 years the hall has been used as an educational institution and is now a retreat centre. The current owners, a Roman Catholic missionary congregation called The Redemptorists, have decided to sell.
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Father Kevin Callaghan, Hawkstone Hall's vice rector, blamed dwindling numbers joining the congregation. "We're finding difficulty in staffing it," he said.
The hall is expected to attract international attention. Set in seven acres of landscaped gardens, the est-ate runs to 88 acres and in-cludes a pair of semi- detached cottages and a chapel.
The hall itself has six reception rooms, including a ballroom. It is being marketed by Reeves & Partners and Barbers.
Nigel Grugeon, of Reeves & Partners, believes restoring the hall to a private residence would create a home of national renown.
"It is a wonderful, very stylish building in a beautiful setting," he said.