Offers of more than pounds 5m are being asked for 15th-century Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex, which has a moat, 140 rooms, and 500 acres of grounds. Two years ago an American investment trust offered pounds 35m. That deal collapsed and the prospective buyer was later declared bankrupt. Then the company that owned the castle went into receivership.
A row broke out over the castle's sale in 1988 - when it ceased to be the home of the Royal Greenwich Observatory - to a small property company, James Developments, for pounds 8.1m. The Science and Engineering Research Council went ahead with the sale despite a reported bid of pounds 14m from a consortium of scientists, and was criticised for selling too cheaply.
A year later, James Developments put the castle and its estate up for sale at a guide price of pounds 17- 20m. The American investment group pushed up its offer to pounds 35m to outbid a Japanese rival.