Page last updated at 07:55 GMT, Monday, 13 July 2009 08:55 UK

2.5m price for repossessed home


Melville House originally went on the market in 2003 for 4.5m

A Palladian mansion in Fife which was repossessed is on the market for £2.5m.

17th-century Melville House near the village of Monimail has 11 bedrooms, seven reception rooms, stables, a cricket pitch and a tennis court.

The stately home was built in 1697 for the 1st Earl of Melville, who was Secretary of State for Scotland.

It was originally put on the market in 2003 for £4.5m but it failed to sell for that amount and when the owner ran out of money it was repossessed.

Wartime role

Melville House has had few private owners. Built by James Smith, for centuries it remained in the hands of the Melville family.

During World War II, it was requisitioned by the Army and turned into a hospital. According to some reports, it was also used as a training base for a secret auxiliary unit.

After the war many of the furnishings were removed or sold. The Melville State Bed was given to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 1949.

The mansion was then turned into a private school for children with special needs for almost 50 years.

Melville House
The repossessed mansion (Photo: Knight Frank)

At the beginning of the 21st Century, it was bought for £1m.

It was completely restored and lived in and several years later sold on, but the next owner ran out of money and it was put back on the market with the asking price of £4.5m.

It failed to sell and was repossessed by the lender, a South African bank. It is said to be the most expensive repossessed property in Britain.

The sale is now being handled by Knight Frank who are looking for offers of £2.5m for the estate.

That is a 40% drop on the original price but so far Melville House has failed to find a buyer.

Knight Frank said that property prices in Scotland like elsewhere in the UK are suffering, with prices falling by 15-20 %.

John Coleman from the property group said: "Some houses, particularly bigger houses, will see further falls in order to get them sold within a specific period of time."

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