House-hunters are being given the chance to own a Grade II-listed 16th century servant’s cottage at a bargain price - with auction bids starting at just £1.
High Heath cottage, known as Mutton’s Castle, is said to be one of a few stone houses of a kind not found anywhere else in England.
The stunning 500-year-old property sits in its own gardens and is surrounded by acres of fields just two miles from the Royal town of Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands.
It was built in the 1530s by local benefactor John Harman, who became Bishop Vesey and later King Henry VIII’s chaplain.
Bishop Vesey is said to have built more than 50 of these stone properties to house his servants, who would also keep order in outlying areas of his native Sutton Coldfield.
The unique tall and narrow detached property is going under the hammer at property auctioneers Bond Wolfe next Wednesday (14/12) with a guide price of just a quid.
Gurpreet Bassi, chief executive at Bond Wolfe, said the price was so low as the vacant building had fallen into disrepair and would require substantial investment to renovate.
He said the property was built in an isolated spot once surrounded by the open commons of High Heath, but today stands alone in the middle of hedgeless farmland.
Mr Bassi added: “This property has a fascinating history and the appearance of a mini watchtower, looking out across the valley to a lonely stretch of the old coach road from Coleshill to Lichfield, now the A446, where highwaymen could lurk.
“By the 19th century, the cottage was part of the Moor Hall Estate, and there was once a row of three cottages adjoining it, occupied by farm labourers in 1851.
“But the adjoining cottages fell into disrepair, and the present-day High Heath Cottage stands alone in the landscape much as it did nearly 500 years ago.
“This three-storey property is suitable for development but requires refurbishment and modernisation within the Grade II* building and green belt regulations, as well as the usual planning permission.”
The cottage on Withy Hill Road is located between Moor Hall Hotel and Bassetts Poleand has two rooms on the first floor and one on each the second and thirds floors.
The Sutton Coldfield Local History Research Group has described how the cottage was easy to defend from attack, originally having only one ground-floor window.
Historians also revealed how the property is believed to have obtained its original name.
They wrote: “There is a local tradition that a man who had stolen a sheep barricaded himself in the cottage – this at a time when sheep-stealing was a hanging offence.
“He is supposed to have held out for a considerable time, and so the cottage used to be known locally as ‘Mutton Castle’.”
The cottage will go under the hammer from 9am in Bond Wolfe’s next auction on Wednesday (14/12), which will be livestreamed.