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Historic House and Farm Contents Auction in Alstonefield

We had an interesting day on Saturday. Those of you who have walked up to Alstonefield from Dovedale or vice versa for that matter, may well have noticed a very beautiful wreck of a house opposite the church. A Grade 2 listed building dating from the late 16th century it had been in the Harour-Crewe family but had been sold to meet death duties in 1951. For years and years it just slowly grew more dilapidated although it was actually inhabited until the owner died last year and the house is to be sold by auction on Thursday 10th May.

What a wonderful project if only one had about a million pounds or perhaps even two… The house could be stunning – the photos may give you a slight idea. The reserve price is quite low but to restore it would take as much again, and more… Sadly we shall be away on the 10th May but would otherwise loved to have gone to be part of the excitement, with hands firmly in pockets and eyes averted from the auctioneer’s in case there might be a terrible misunderstanding and we ended up the already impoverished new owners.

On Saturday was the auction of the contents of the house and farm machinery, all old – some interestingly old and some just plain old. The outside of the house had been tidied up, new gravel laid, and bits and pieces of farming equipment laid out on the ‘lawn’. In the shed was a motley collection of furniture, and general bits and bobs, in the house, ditto. There were some interesting pieces, and some badly in need of repair were snaffled up by people who obviously would lovingly restore them for their home, or perhaps tart them up and sell them on at a greatly inflated price. Obviously many people knew more than we did, and while some things went for a ridiculously low price, others were bid for eagerly in a way that astounded the ignorant among us. Why should anyone want to spend hundreds on an old jug with all the pouring lip side missing? Then there were two pony traps which went for surprisingly little to the delight of the buyer who looked as if she had been expecting to have to go much higher.

There was a lovely atmosphere and it was all great fun. There were so many people there, farmers, families, traders and lots of local people who had just gone along for the experience. It got cold by the end though so we were very glad to retire to the George for a (delicious) late lunch by the fire!

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