Manor in Hampshire


Stargroves, otherwise known as Stargrove House, is a manor and estate situated in the medieval village of East Woodhay in the county of Hampshire. The estate includes woodlands and a lake. It has had many prominent owners over the years; but it was singer and songwriter Mick Jagger who put it on the map after purchasing the property in 1970.

In 1428, John Sterregrave was the owner of a substantial portion of the parish of East Woodhay. The original Stargrove House was named after him, and was designated a manor during the 16th century. Between 1565 and 1667, the estate was owned by the Goddard Family, a family with land in Wiltshire, Hampshire and Berkshire during the Tudor period and far beyond, continuing into the early part of the 20th century.

In 1667, title to the estate reverted to the Bishopric of Winchester, but John Goddard and his descendants continued to be permitted to stay there on a lease basis.

In 1821, the property was acquired by the Earl of Carnarvon. Sadly, at the start of the 1840s, the manor house was consumed by fire and completely destroyed. It was not until 1848 that a new property began to be constructed on the site. The new Stargrove House was in an ornate Victorian Gothic style with hints of a French château about it.

After the new Stargrove was completed, it was purchased by a Captain Ramsay. Three decades later, in 1879, both the house and 850 acres of surrounding land were sold on to Sir Frederick Henry Walter Carden, 3rd Baronet. Carden went on to make a number of renovations to the house, and developed extensive parkland gardens, incorporating a lake.

Although the property had already had a long succession of well-heeled owners, they tended to be members of the landed gentry until 1970. It was while it was in the ownership of musician Mick Jagger that it gained its place in rock ‘n’ roll history. He bought it for the bargain sum of £55,000 (the equivalent of just over £717,000 in August 2023), reportedly while high on LSD. It is said that he forgot all about the purchase, according to a 75,000-word memoir he wrote in the 1980s. Possibly, Jagger’s memory of writing his own memoir is also somewhat hazy.

While Stargroves was owned by the musician, many songs were recorded there. Most notably, the Rolling Stones recorded various tracks that would later feature on albums such as Sticky Fingers, released in 1971, Exile on Main Street, released in 1972, and It’s Only Rock and Roll, released in 1974.

Multiple other musical legends, including rock band Status Quo and reggae star Bob Marley, have also recorded music on the estate. The Who recorded its songs Won’t Get Fooled Again and Pure and Easy in 1971; and songs appearing on Led Zeppelin’s albums House of the Holy (1973) and Physical Graffiti (1975) were also recorded at the property.

By the mid-1970s, Stargroves had gained prominence in the music industry, with a reputation as a place where creativity flowed easily. In addition to music recording, it was sometimes used by the television industry. In 1975, and again in 1977, the grounds of the property were used for the filming of two episodes of British television series Dr Who: Pyramids of Mars, which featured in the 13th season; and Image of the Fendahl, which featured in the 15th season, and in which actor Tom Baker starred as The Doctor.

The estate went on to be owned by a variety of rich and famous faces following Mick Jagger. Businessman John Varley bought the property from Jagger in 1979 for £200,000, equivalent to just over £936,350 in 2023, making Jagger a substantial above-inflation profit during the nine short years that it remained in his ownership. However, Varley would make a lot more money in a considerably shorter time. In 1984, Swedish-born Claes Bourghardt purchased Stargroves for £500,000, equivalent to £1,548,480 in August 2023, giving him a real-terms profit of more than 50% after just five years of ownership.

The property changed hands again in 1988. Paul Dupee Jr, owner of an American professional basketball team called the Boston Celtics, bought the estate for £2,250,000, equivalent to £5,956,100 in August 2023, meaning that, in real terms, Bourghardt had almost quadrupled his money in just four years. After making it his own with the development of a basketball court within the grounds, Dupee sold it on just five years later.

Another big name in sport followed. Sir Francis Williams (1942 – 2021), always known as Frank Williams, and founder of the Williams Formula One Team, was the next owner of the lavish property. It shortly passed back into music legend status ownership when Rod Stewart bought the property for £2,500,000 in 1998. However, his tenure was also short-lived, since following the breakdown of his marriage to model and actress Rachel Hunter, the property was sold yet again only a short while after contracts had been exchanged.

In 2005, the estate received substantial funding for repairs and renovation after winning the Basingstoke & Deane Conservation Award.

In 2012, a member of the American Sackler family, who had made their money in the pharmaceutical industry, bought the property for an unknown sum over and above the £15 million guide price for which it was listed.