$1.2m price tag on historic home where royalty played

TRACEY CHATTERTON - HAWKE'S BAY
Last updated 05:00 03/12/2012
Ashcott
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GRACIOUS: Ashcott Homestead, between Onga Onga and Ashley Clinton, in Central Hawke’s Bay. It once hosted a Prince of Wales and Prime Minister Richard Seddon.

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A historic homestead that once hosted royalty is for sale.

Tucked away in Central Hawke's Bay, Ashcott Homestead is on the market for $1.2 million.

Owners Christine and Chris Beckham have decided to downsize from the seven-bedroom home that includes three bathrooms, a billiard room, ballroom, kitchen and two living rooms.

They bought the house "that needed rescuing" in 2000, restoring it to its former glory and modernising the kitchen.

Despite its size it was a very comfortable family home, Mr Beckham said.

"It's not like an institution, it gives you a feeling of still being a home - but a really, really, really big home."

The 627 square metre homestead sits on 3.84 hectares. It started life in 1860 as two adjoining huts with old English newspaper lining the walls.

English brothers John and Walter Tucker named it Ashcott, after their Somerset birthplace.

John settled in the house with his wife, changed his name to A'Deane to get her bequest and went on to be a member of the Hawke's Bay Provincial Council.

Towards the end of the century, the single-storey bungalow was transformed into a two-storey villa using local totara timber.

Mr A'Deane's eldest son and namesake John took over the homestead in 1886, added two bedrooms and a large billiard room and grew the stock to 18,000 sheep and 800 cattle.

He also established the Hawke's Bay Hunt, with many fences on the property still having lowered places to jump, Mr Beckham said.

At that time the guests would have travelled up the 14-kilometre private driveway, which is now Ashcott Rd.

Among the guests were Lord and Lady Plunket, commander in chief of the Royal Navy Lord Jellicoe, the Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII, and Prime Minister Richard Seddon.

The prince played a game of tennis at the homestead in 1920, while Mr Seddon visited to explain that the estate had to be broken up because of a new policy towards large landowners based overseas. As a result, Mr A'Deane sold about 600 hectares. The house remained in the family until Margaret A'Deane died in 1970. It was then locked up and fell into disrepair.

Ashcott was used as a grain store and hayshed before becoming a "bohemian commune" with artists and potters in residence, Mr Beckham said.

The homestead was registered as a category 2 historic place in 1983.

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- The Dominion Post

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