The Grade I listed Wiltshire mansion of Littlecote, which was transformed from a private residence into a public attraction during the 10-year tenure of its current incumbent, Peter de Savary, is now in need of a wealthy benefactor.
Yesterday, it was put up for sale on behalf of the receivers for the freehold company Farrgate with an asking price of pounds 5m. Mr de Savary paid nearly pounds 7m for Littlecote in 1985, but half that money was recouped from a sale of the contents. He was only the fourth owner in the house's 600 year history.
Its most famous owner was Colonel Alexander Popham, who raised an army for Cromwell and amassed the most complete collection of armoury and weapons from the period.
Built primarily in the late 15th century, Littlecote is a vast Tudor mansion set in 112 acres. The grounds include a stunning Roman mosaic, the remains of a Roman villa, seven cottages and five formal gardens.
It is situated in one of the most expensive patches of southern England, three miles from the town of Hungerford on the border between Wiltshire and Berkshire.
Joint agents, Savills, says its expects the buyer to be either a very wealthy individual or an organisation looking for a country base.
Mr de Savary said he was leaving Littlecote in order to dedicate himself more fully to Skibo Castle, the Highlands estate where he is creating a golf and sporting club.