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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Country mansion that had to change its name during WWII so the American Air Force wouldn't get LOST goes on sale for £10million - thanks to stunning location on the banks of the Thames

  • Coombe Park in Oxfordshire was built for James Gardiner in 1865 on his return from the East Indies 
  • The £10 million property -  which has its own boat house - is in  Whitchurch-on-Thames, Oxfordshire 
  •  According to the selling agents the property is in need of a complete refurbishment and even rebuilding 
  • The propery is on 125 acres and used to have a successful stud farm breeding an Ascot Gold Cup winner

  • A grand country house with 125 acres that was once used by an aristocratic family to breed racehorses is now in desperate need of a makeover.
    Coombe Park has gone on the market for £10m but has been untouched for 30 years and faded since its glory days so its price tag is solely down to its stunning location and potential.
    The house has had no work done for decades and would need a complete overhaul and the gardens are completely overgrown with rhododendrons and brambles.

    This is the country mansion on Whitchurch-on-Thames is long past its former glory despite a price tag of some £10 million
    This is the country mansion on Whitchurch-on-Thames is long past its former glory despite a price tag of some £10 million
    The property, which initially had its very own stud farm bred some renowned throughbred race horses a century ago
    The property, which initially had its very own stud farm bred some renowned throughbred race horses a century ago
    The house, pictured, was built by James Gardiner in 1865 after his return from the East Indies but sold on to Charles Howard
    The house, pictured, was built by James Gardiner in 1865 after his return from the East Indies but sold on to Charles Howard

    The estate in Whitchurch-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, has outstanding views over its own land to the River Thames and beyond and estate agents Strutt & Parker think it is likely someone will knock the tired home down and start again.
    The estate was originally created by James Gardiner in 1865 on his return from the East Indies, but was sold to Charles Howard in 1898.

    He added a stud complex to the property, which produced many high quality racehorses, including Willonyx, who won five principal races in 1911 - including the Ascot Gold Cup.
    During the Second World War it was used as a rest and recuperation centre for the US Air Force under Charles' widow Lillian but the grand home was left in a poor state when they left and the main part of the house was demolished after the war because of the large capital cost of refurbishment.
    US air crew were invited to the house, which changed its name to Pangbourne House, to rest during their 25-mission tour in Europe. 
    Officials changed the name of the house because there was a similarly-named rest home in Dorset.  
    The American Red Cross ran the operation which lasted until the end of the war.

    The estate is on 195 acres on the outskirts of Whitchurch-on-Thames, near Pangbourne in Oxfordshire 
    The estate is on 195 acres on the outskirts of Whitchurch-on-Thames, near Pangbourne in Oxfordshire 
    During the Second World War, the property, pictured, was used as a rehabilitation centre for US Air Force pilots 
    During the Second World War, the property, pictured, was used as a rehabilitation centre for US Air Force pilots 
    The property, pictured, is in need of extensive renovation and may be demolished by any new owners and rebuilt 
    The property, pictured, is in need of extensive renovation and may be demolished by any new owners and rebuilt 
    For those with a nautical bent, the property features its very own boat house including a wet and a dry dock 
    For those with a nautical bent, the property features its very own boat house including a wet and a dry dock 

    The existing house comprises part of the old servants' wing and the coach house, which was extended and refurbished in 1982.
    It has 13,368 sq ft of accommodation with an entrance hall, reception hall, sitting room, study, kitchen, dining room, drawing room, an indoor pool room, games room, extensive cellars, six bedrooms and five bathrooms.
    It is believed to be connected to the mains gas, but not operational.
    The extensive gardens include a former orangery, an overgrown walled garden, former greenhouses and a disused outdoor swimming pool.
    Set away from the main house there is also the Coach House complex, a range of buildings around a courtyard including two three-bedroom cottages and a range of offices, as well as stabling and paddocks.

    As befitting a £10million property, the house features a gated driveway to deter uninvited visitors from calling in 
    As befitting a £10million property, the house features a gated driveway to deter uninvited visitors from calling in 
    As well as the main house, outbuildings and boat house, the property also sits on 125 acres of land adjoining the river
    As well as the main house, outbuildings and boat house, the property also sits on 125 acres of land adjoining the river
    Within a matter of minutes the new owner could be on the River Thames enjoying the scenery after leaving the boat house
    Within a matter of minutes the new owner could be on the River Thames enjoying the scenery after leaving the boat house

    There is also a separate third three-bedroom lodge, a pavilion previously used as a changing room for a football pitch, an indoor tennis pitch, which is almost 30 years old and in a poor state of repair, and a boathouse with a wet and dry dock and a small flat above.
    The parkland with the property is pasture interspersed with mature woodland.

    Mark McAndrew, from Strutt & Parker, said: 'Coombe Park is a Thames-side estate as rare as hen's teeth.
    'It's a little oasis whose glory has faded over the years, ripe for a private individual wanting to create something truly extraordinary.
    'Thirty or forty years ago this must have been an extraordinary place - a wonderful little estate in its own land on the side of the Thames.
    'What you see today is what happens when you do nothing for 30 or 40 years. The house is in a poor state, it needs quite a lot of attention.
    'You could try to restore what's there or you could demolish it and build something spectacular in that location.
    'Only a small part of what's there is the original house. With these big houses taken over during the war, they were often trashed by the incumbents and afterwards they were either reduced in size or knocked down and rebuilt.
    'The walled garden is like a secret garden in a book, you don't know what you might find. You stumble across sun dials and dovecotes in among the rhododendrons and brambles.
    'It's the place that time forgot, it needs to be brought back to life.
    'It's a superb location but it needs someone quite brave because it's a hell of a project.
    'There is opportunity beyond restoring its faded grandeur too - development opportunities, subject to obtaining necessary planning consents, include converting barns and outbuildings, as well as the more complex possibility of a small scale residential development on the land adjacent to the village.
    'To have a classic English country house of this size fronting the Thames in its own parkland is exceptionally rare – and with such enormous potential this is a real one in a million.' 

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