A stunning Georgian officers’ mess which was briefly the residence of former British Army officer-turned-Hollywood star David Niven has been put on the market.
Netheravon House has been converted into a luxurious country pad close to Salisbury Plain Training Area and is up for sale for offers over £2.3 million pounds.
The impressively renovated property is listed Grade II* and thought to have been built in 1734.
It was originally constructed as a large villa and hunting box for Henry Somerset, the 3rd Duke of Beaufort, who used the grounds to entertain influential guests – However, in 1898, the War Office compulsory purchased its buildings and surrounding land.
Associate Director, Sarah Cull at Strutt & Parker in Salisbury who is selling the estate said:
“The house has a fantastic amount of history.
"Because the MoD had it for so long, all the original features are still there, including an exceptional Soames fireplace in the kitchen/breakfast room.
“They maintained it but didn't alter it so you have all original fireplaces, doors, deep skirting boards, a hugely gracious staircase, intricate plasterwork and ceiling roses.”
From 1904 until the outbreak of the First World War, the school of cavalry used the house and stables as their training base.
It was then transformed into living quarters for British officers training at the nearby Support Weapons Wing of the School of Infantry, where they learned to fire heavy machine guns, General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMG), mortars and anti-tank weapons.
British Army Officer and Hollywood actor David Niven decided to resign his commission after attending the machine guns course at Netheravon House. He was placed under ‘mess-arrest’ for insubordination, after a senior lecturer (Major General) asked if there were any questions and Niven is said to have asked:
“Could you tell me the time, Sir? I have to catch a train.”
After being placed under close-arrest for his act of insubordination, Niven finished a bottle of whisky with the officer who was supposed to be guarding him.
The former military accommodation block was then converted back into a family home in 2004, which now boasts nearly five acres of land, a cinema room, boot room, tennis court and it has its own wine cellar.
Properties with this type of history and in such a great condition rarely appear on the market says Sarah, adding:
“Netheravon House is an extremely impressive, Georgian home where the incoming purchasers will not have to worry about having the ongoing costs of a large country manor.
“It is still an exceedingly spacious property at almost 12,000 sq ft with an spacious basement with the cinema room, elegant reception rooms on the ground floor and a plethora of bedrooms, bathrooms and dressing rooms spanning the other floors.
“It would suit a wide variety of purchasers, from blended families or multi-generational living, or those wanting to work from home – it could even be suitable for someone who would like an additional residence that they could lock up and leave.
“It is also extremely well located, being very accessible, within two hours of London via either the A303 and M3, the M4 or by rail.”
The main structure was used to house officers working nearby right up until Netheravon Camp closed its doors in the 1990s and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) went on to sell the listed property and surrounding estate.
Anyone with a spare few million pounds and interested in buying the property can request a viewing through Strutt & Parker estate agents in Salisbury.
* All pictures of Netheravon House interior and exterior courtesy of Strutt & Parker.