Fire-damaged farmhouse and land of eccentric’ ex-huntmaster sells for £2.5m

Highlightley Farm, in Dronfield, Derbyshire has sold for more than �2.5m
Highlightley Farm, in Dronfield, Derbyshire has sold for more than �2.5m
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A large family farmhouse and land inherited by a well-known huntmaster has sold for more than £2.5 million in a record auction in Sheffield.

Highlightley Farm, in Dronfield, Derbyshire, went under the hammer at the Mark Jenkinson & Son auction, at Bramall Lane - six years after former owner and Barlow Huntmaster Anne Wilson died intestate aged 89.

Her stone built detached farmhouse on Highlightley Lane with adjoining L-shaped outbuilding, set in eight acres, went under the hammer with a guide price of £400,000, but sold for £1.36m – the highest individual sale result in more than 30 years of the auctioneers.

Meanwhile, 200 acres of Highlightley grazing land and woodland sold in 14 individual lots at the auction for £1.179m.

Adrian Little, head of the auction department at Mark Jenkinson & Son, said: “We were aware that our auction presented a unique opportunity to purchase a building and land with real scope for development in an enviable setting and was likely to attract a lot of interest.

“But we had no idea the farmhouse on Highlightley Lane itself would break our own record by selling for more than three times the guide price, and, with the land, the site in total went for more than £2.5 million.”

Former owner ‘Miss Anne’ inherited the large house with farmland and stables from her aunt and lived there for about 40 years, but moved into a caravan in the grounds before her death after the Barlow property became dilapidated.

Joint huntmaster of the Barlow Hunt for 20 years, she died in Chesterfield Royal Hospital after gas from a portable heater ignited inside her caravan home.

Born at Horsleygate Hall, Holmesfield, Miss Anne was the youngest of three in a family steeped in Barlow Hunt history, with her grandfather, father and elder sister all previous Masters.

She took on the Mastership after her sister’s death in the late 80s.

Miss Anne was an eccentric and respected well-known figure among the hunting and farming communities – a former Land Girl, Guide Leader, President of Barlow Pony Club, and a fan of fast horses as well as cars.

In total, £5.25m worth of property was sold during the two-hour long auction, held at The Platinum Suite at Sheffield United Football Club, and 91 per cent of lots offered were sold.

Among other lots which sold for more than the guide price was a Grade II-listed property close to Sheffield University.

Brunswick House, on Glossop Road, which has been used for adult mental health services, was bought for £630,000 – above the £350,000 guide price.

A former takeaway, part of three adjoining properties on Howard Road, in Walkley, with a guide price of £195,000, sold for £220,000 at the auction.