THE opulent family home of a prominent North East businessman has been bought by a clergyman-turned-entrepreneur who acquired a neighbouring country estate in Northumberland two years ago.
The sale of centuries-old Eshott Hall near Felton – previously owned by landowner, farmer and property developer Ho Sanderson and his wife Margaret – has been successfully completed for more than the £3m guide price.
The imposing mansion - which is run as a luxury boutique hotel and a venue for weddings, conferences and private parties – was put on the market in September by insolvency experts Grant Thornton, who are handling the administration of Mr Sanderson’s portfolio of companies.
Now it has emerged that it has been bought by Shropshire-based businessman Robert Parker, who lives with his wife Gina on their 800-acre Tedsmore agricultural estate at Oswestry near Shrewsbury. Mr Parker is no stranger to Northumberland, having acquired the 700-acre Guyzance Estate near Acklington, including the Grade II-listed Guyzance Hall, for £7m in 2007.
Guyzance – which is just a few miles from Eshott – is now used as the wealthy couple’s second home, and is also run as a luxury holiday let and wedding venue, providing accommodation for up to 24 guests.
There are four holiday cottages in the extensive grounds.
Mr Parker, 66, is an ordained clergyman who started a new career in 1986 in the care home business.
By 2004 he had developed a Shropshire-based group of six nursing and residential homes, caring for 270 residents and employing 350 staff. He later sold the business.
Yesterday Adam Reeves, who runs the Tedsmore and Guyzance estates for Mr Parker, said the acquisition of Eshott Hall was a business investment, and it would continue to be run as a hotel, wedding and conference venue.
“It will be taking bookings for the summer and there will be an official relaunch pretty soon, when we will make announcements about the management structure.
Mr and Mrs Parker spend quite a lot of the year at Guyzance Hall and obviously enjoy Northumberland.”
Eshott Hall was marketed by estate agents George F White and described as ‘a rare opportunity to own one of Northumberland’s finest country homes’.
Yesterday managing partner, Hugh Fell, said: “We have achieved a successful sale on behalf of the administrators, at a price in excess of the £3m guide.
“We were very pleased and were taken aback by the intensity and level of interest.”
It was announced in July last year that Mr Sanderson’s companies – Eshott Hall Estate Ltd, Hartford Hall Estate Ltd, Hartfound Ltd, Filebase and some dormant companies – had been put into administration after becoming insolvent.
He is continuing his lengthy recovery from a shooting incident 10 months ago, when he apparently tripped while out walking in the fields near Eshott Hall and shot himself in the face and neck. It is understood that Mr and Mrs Sanderson have now moved out of the hall and into a smaller property nearby.