The Real Deal New York

UK’s largest private house hits market for $11.1M

The property needs an estimated $42 million in repairs
By Business Insider | November 22, 2014 10:00AM

The largest private house in the United Kingdom with over 250,000 square feet and 365 rooms has gone on sale for a surprisingly paltry $11.1 million.

In its prime, the Wentworth Woodhouse estate was the height of aristocratic English society. It sat on the richest seams of coal in South Yorkshire just as the Industrial Revolution was taking off — and seemed to be the center of infinite wealth.

Built by First Marquess of Rockingham, the home took so long to build that the eastern and western wings of the home were built in different architectural styles (the east side is early-18th century Baroque while the west is mid-18th century Palladian).

It is so staggeringly massive that guests to the Wentworth Woodhouse were actually given baskets of confetti to scatter as a trail so that they wouldn’t get lost on their way back to their rooms at the end of the evening, according to The Daily Mail.

The palatial Wentworth Woodhouse is steeped in history, too. The Fitzwilliam family, who inherited the estate after the 2nd Marquess died, were thought to be the inspiration behind Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” They were the 6th wealthiest landowners in the country at the time and the 4th Earl Fitzwilliam is thought to be the real-life counterpart to Austen’s dreamy Fitzwilliam Darcy.

The Fitzwilliams threw Gatsby-esque parties and guests would sometimes meet on the train back to London to discover that they had both been in the same house party all weekend, according to the Daily Mail.

But after World War II, the property was ripped to shreds by the government. There was a national shortage of coal, and the Minister Of Fuel and Power ordered the grounds of the house to be dug up for opencast mining.

The house was headed for ruin, and when the eighth Earl Fitzwilliam died in a plane crash on a scandalous rendezvous with JFK’s sister Kathleen ‘Kick’ Kennedy in 1948, the home was turned over and became a college of physical education.

In 1999, the Newbold family bought the estate and have spent years trying to restore the home to its original glory. The family is now selling the estate for a reported £7 million, or $11.1 million, although it still needs an estimated $42 million in repairs.

Welcome to the esteemed Wentworth Woodhouse. It is twice the size of the Buckingham Palace and once employed a staff of over 1,000.

The Wentworth Woodhouse is being sold with nearly 90 acres of parkland, several resident statues, and a chandelier that is too big to be removed.

The interior of the home still has some of its original splendor. The Marble Saloon was known as the finest room in England in the 18th century.

There were over 365 rooms in the Wentworth Woodhouse, and all of them were once grand marvels.

The home has over five miles of hallways. No wonder people were afraid of getting lost in it.

The Needle’s Eye on the grounds of the estate was built in 1780 to win a bet. The second Marquess claimed he could drive a coach and horses through the eye of a needle.

The property even has a bear pit, and once employed a full-time bear-keeper.