Literary Mansion Sells for $3.8M, but Tenants Won't Go

Evelyn Waugh lived at Piers Court for 19 years
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 25, 2022 2:35 PM CST
Evelyn Waugh's Mansion Sells for $3.8M, With a Catch
Evelyn Waugh.   (Wikimedia Commons)

The author Evelyn Waugh wrote Brideshead Revisited in an eight-bedroom mansion he lived in for 19 years in the UK's Cotswolds region, and what's happening at the home now is entirely plot-worthy. Former BBC Worldwide/Sony Entertainment exec Jason Blain bought Piers Court in 2019 for £2.9m (about $3.5 million at today's rates) via a company called Winston’s House. He named two friends (self-described Waugh "superfans") to the company's board and gave them a bonkers rental deal: what amounts to $300 a year. Then Winston's House defaulted on its hefty loan on the mansion, and it went up for auction on Dec. 15. An unnamed bidder bought it for $3.8 million—after the auction house made clear the renters haven't complied with orders to leave, reports the Guardian.

The listing read in part, "A notice to quit was served on the occupant on 19 August 2022 and a copy of such notice was affixed to the property gate on 22 August 2022. Prospective purchasers should take their own legal advice regarding this and will be deemed to bid accordingly." Board member/renter Bechara Madi told the Daily Mail, "It's our home, for the short term and for the long term. We will be putting our Christmas tree and decorations up in the next few days. We are going nowhere." Further, Madi says that the group put "hundreds of thousands of pounds" into Winston's House. As such, "we are not tenants, we have a major share in the house." (More mansion stories.)

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