23 August 2002

Historic tower raises interest in Lincs farm

By Andrew Shirley

A farm on the Lincs Heath, part of which dates back to the time of the First Crusade, is about to come to the market with Brown & Co for £3.57m.

Temple Bruer at Wellingore, near Sleaford, includes the remains of a church constructed in the 12th century by the order of the Knights Templar.

The only part of the settlement that remains today – albeit in remarkably good condition – is a restored tower. Maintenance costs are handled by the local council in return for public access.

During the 14th century, the Templars were suppressed and the site passed into the hands of the Knights Hospitallers.

Henry VIII, who is reputed to have slept in one of the existing farmhouses bedrooms, eventually seized the land during the dissolution of the monasteries and passed the estate to his brother-in-law, the Duke of Suffolk.

If such an intriguing past is not enough to attract potential buyers, Temple Bruer has a good range of more conventional attributes.

The principal draw for arable farmers is the farms 800 acres of predominantly free-draining, Grade 2 calcareous soils. Their versatility makes them popular with local farmers, according to selling agent Nick Dawes.

"Heath is very fashionable. People like it because it is good for sugar beet, especially with British Sugars Newark factory nearby," he says. "You can get 1in of rain and still harvest sugar beet on the same day," adds owner Tom Mountain, who is selling up because his children are not interested in farming.

Mr Mountain plans to concentrate his efforts on a 600-acre holding he owns nearby.

There is also some good shooting and much use has been made of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme to improve the farms conservation and sporting amenity.

The principal seven-bedroomed farmhouse has a number of period features, plus a more modern indoor swimming pool in a separate building. It has been lotted separately by Mr Dawes with a guide of £900,000.

Most of the holdings soil has been split into three lots. A range of buildings and 342 acres are priced at £980,000, while two blocks of bare land running to 166 and 287 acres are tagged at £474,000 and £810,000 (around £2800/acre) respectively.

Four other dwellings let under a variety of tenancy agreements make up the balance of the sale.

&#8226 For those looking for a smaller East Anglian property, William Edwards of Brown & Cos Norwich office is selling Valley Farm, a 67-acre arable holding in Tuddenham, for £625,000.

The holding features a five-bedroom house. &#42

Temple Bruer in Lincs features this historic tower.