Devon mansion on sale for £7.5m straight out of an adventure story


Redlap House

Redlap House could have been brought to life from the pages of a children's adventure story. It was the 18th century home of a notorious smuggler and has false walls behind which he used to hide his contraband. It has its own private beach which can only be reached from the house - and its own pool. It's also said to have inspired a famous tale from a former poet Laureate.

So how much do literary connections add to the value of a property?

The house has been put on the market by estate agents Savills, who are asking £7.5m for this slice of literary history. They emphasise the more unusual features, including the false walls, a priest hole, and even rumours of a tunnel from the house direct to Redlap Cove.

It sounds like the sort of house you only find in adventure stores - and in fact is thought to be the inspiration behind John Masefield's book about a boy smuggler, Jim Davis.

It's a large and spectacular property for the money, and the literary connections are the icing on the cake. Take a look inside the property.

Inside the £7.5m Devon mansion

Inside the £7.5m Devon mansion

So how do literary connections add to the value of a property?

It certainly draws the attention of potential buyers. Teversal Manor in Nottinghamshire, sold for £1m earlier this year. It was famously the inspiration for Wragby Hall - the manor house from Lady Chatterley's Lover. Its connection to such a notorious book ensured the house hit the headlines around the world.

It also appeals to those who want to by into the lifestyle associated with a book. At the moment in Lake Forest, Illinois, a seven bedroom mansion has gone on sale for $16.5m. It was the home of Genevra King, the first love of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the inspiration for Daisy Buchanan, the iconic and self-centred woman at the heart of The Great Gatsby. The glamour and popularity of the book have immediately added to the draw of the property.

Then there are buyers who want to buy into the legend of the writer. Last year Truman Capote's former house became the most expensive family home ever to sell in Brooklyn Heights when it sold for $12m to Dan Houser, creator of "Grand Theft Auto." It didn't have any connection to any particular book, but he was buying a slice of celebrity.

However, there are some properties which cannot overcome their drawbacks entirely through a literary connection. Mary Shelley's former home, Castle Goring, an 18th century Sussex Castle, recently sold for just £700,000 - a victim of the fact it needed £2m of repairs.