Estate home up for sale
MINT CONDITION: One of the only three remaining mansions built in the 1870s in the Free State, is on the market for R20-million. Keble Estate is a 310.5ha property located about 13km from Clocolan

Centuries-old mansion available

A BLOEMFONTEIN businessman, who owns one of three remaining Free State mansions built in the 1870s , has put it on the market for R20-million.

Keble Estate, a 310.5-hectare property, located about 13km from the eastern Free State town of Clocolan, has attracted a flood of inquiries from potential buyers seeking to acquire it for private use, some as a getaway retreat, and others interested in converting it into a boutique hotel.

Pam Golding Properties’ Tara Whiting said: “We have been extremely pleased with the level of interest … a unique historic property such as this always attracts such an interesting eclectic mix of prospective purchasers.”

Whiting said her office had received inquiries from as far afield as Scotland and the US state of California.

“But the overwhelming interest has been from wealthy South African clients interested in acquiring a piece of South African history,” she said.

The estate includes nine bedrooms, a large music room — which can accommodate a sit-down dinner for 80 people — and a 111-year-old St Michael and All Angels chapel.

The mansion still has much of it s original woodwork and wooden panelling.

The grounds also feature a clay-pigeon shooting range, an old clay tennis court and an area in which to play Boulle (a French version of bowls) and croquet.

Situated between Ficksburg and Ladybrand, Keble Estate was built for Anglican Priest Reverend Algernon Harcourt- Vernon, and named after Oxford University’s Keble College, where he studied theology.

The stone used in the house’s construction is said to have come from the same quarry as that used in the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

The estate remained in the Harcourt-Vernon family for over 100 years, and its history includes the 1947 tale about its owner transporting some of his horses to nearby Modderpoort for the use of the British royal family — King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Princesses Elizabeth (now Queen) and Margaret — during their visit to South Africa.

Whiting said that, during the second Anglo-Boer War, a battle was fought atop nearby mountains, where shells dating back to 1902 have been found.

“In 1997 the estate was acquired by its present owners and used as a private country retreat,” she said.

Article by: Simpiwe Piliso - www.thetimes.co.za