Scottish mansion price takes a hit

Melville House, one of Britain's most expensive repossessed homes, is on sale for a third of its original asking price at £1.25 million.

Melvile House is up for sale. Courtesy Strutt & Parker.
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A 17th century Scottish mansion, its land spread across rolling hills, is on sale for a third of its price of 10 years ago.

The repossessed Melville House was originally on the market for £4.5 million in 2003, according to the BBC, but is now on sale for £1.25 million (Dh7.36m) from its current owners, who bought it in 2009. It was one of Britain’s most expensive repossessions in 2005.

The house is named after George Meville, a Protestant sympathiser. He went on to become the secretary of state for Scotland during what was termed the Glorious Revolution that saw the replacement of James II with his daughter Mary and her husband William of Orange. Melville earned an earldom for his loyalty to the new King William.

The 316-year-old Palladian mansion has seen it all. Set near Cuper, Fife, it served as a hospital and army barracks during the Second World War, and was a private school for children with special needs for half a century after the war.

Spanning 6.6 hectares (a full-sized football pitch is not quite a hectare), it has 11 bedrooms and eight reception rooms, besides 10 bathrooms set in two wings of the mansion.

It also has an apartment for the staff. The courtyard stables at the 19th century coach house on the property have long fallen out of use, and were refashioned into a stage, classrooms and gymnasium during its school days. These are now being reconverted into a cinema room and garages.

Also being upgraded are the tennis court and cricket grounds.

Pictures of the interiors on the website of Edinburgh-based Strutt & Parker, which lists the property, show oak-panelled walls and wood floors, with gilded frames on pastel walls and decorated ceilings along with vintage furniture, including a billiard table. The house is up for sale with all the furnishings and decorations.

The property includes two cottages and two pavilions with additional living space. The pictures also show a tree house complete with narrow glass windows.

Q&A: Country lifestyle in the rolling hills

What would you get for £1.25 million?

The three-storey house has a library and a reception hall, a music room and dining and kitchen space on the ground floor. Three more reception rooms, a drawing room, and a master-bedroom suite complete the first floor besides other common meeting rooms. Most of the bedrooms of the house are situated on the second floor with a majority of the 10 rooms being upgraded to have en-suite facilities. An attic and a storage room take up the third floor. The basement houses the staff apartment as well as a kitchen, laundry room and boiler rooms. And like all old houses, there are lots of hidden doors, according to the agents Strutt & Parker.

Where is Fife?

This historic county is in the Scottish Lowlands on the east coast of the country. The Melville House is located in the village of Monimail, near Cupar. The town has a lively market, according to the property agents, and is 16 miles from Dundee, one of the largest cities in Scotland. The grounds of the property also has the remains of a renaissance palace called the Monimail Tower.

What are the outdoor options?

The rolling hills of the countryside with farmlands and woods that frame the house offer spaces for walking, hiking, riding and cycling. Fishing is also an option. The city of St Andrews, also located in the county of Fife, is known for its golf.