Details of the biggest estate sale this year have finally come out.

Rumours of a very significant private deal had been circulating the industry, but now Strutt & Parker’s James Laing has confirmed he acted for the purchaser of Grade 1 listed Edgcote House, near Banbury, Oxfordshire, with 1700 acres of grounds and farmland.

Mr Laing said the estate, which was sold by Christopher Courage of the brewing family, had been bought by an unnamed conservation trust within two weeks of the property becoming available several months ago.

“They were very interested in the house.

This is the finest estate to be sold in a decade.”

It was reported in the Sunday Times that the estate sold for almost 30m, but Mr Laing added:

“I wouldn’t believe too much that you read about prices.”

The sale coincides with an upturn in demand for prime country property, according to the latest Knight Frank country house index.

Prices were most buoyant for the top-priced houses, with those over 3m rising 1.7% in value during the third quarter of the year.

Those worth less than 1m saw a rise of only 0.2%.

Cottages and farmhouses rose by 0.5%, but are worth slightly less than a year ago.