Gun-toting aristocrat, 73, puts 13-bed 2,000 acre Somerset mansion for rent for £20,000 a month


An eccentric gun-toting aristocrat has put his 13-bedroom 2,000 acre Somerset country home up for rent for £20,000 a month. 

Sir Benjamin Slade, 74, has put 600-year-old Maunsel House, where Geoffrey Chaucer wrote part of The Canterbury Tales, up for rent – after putting it on the market last April for £2.2million and finding no takers.  

The controversial aristocrat, who made his fortune as a shipping magnate, was visited by bailiffs in December last year to settle an unpaid bill to a wedding planner for £4,700. 

But because of the resistance they were met with at the Grade II listed mansion, the bill shot up to £5,599 and was only paid after the police were called in. 

The 13-bedroom mansion in North Newton, near Bridgwater, Somerset, is in the middle of an estate with lakes, woodlands, and orchards.

Anyone wanting to live a day in the aristocrat’s shoes can do so for £20,000 a month, or £4,615 per week. It is being rented through Savills. 

An eccentric gun-toting aristocrat has put his 13-bedroom 2,000 acre Somerset country home up for rent for £20,000 a month. Pictured is one of the mansion’s 13 bedrooms 

Sir Benjamin Slade, 74, has put 600-year-old Maunsel House (pictured), where Geoffrey Chaucer wrote part of The Canterbury Tales, up for rent - after putting it on the market last April for £2.2million and finding no takers

Sir Benjamin Slade, 74, has put 600-year-old Maunsel House (pictured), where Geoffrey Chaucer wrote part of The Canterbury Tales, up for rent – after putting it on the market last April for £2.2million and finding no takers

The controversial aristocrat, who made his fortune as a shipping magnate, was visited by bailiffs in December last year to settle an unpaid bill to a wedding planner for £4,700

The controversial aristocrat, who made his fortune as a shipping magnate, was visited by bailiffs in December last year to settle an unpaid bill to a wedding planner for £4,700

But because of the resistance they were met with at the Grade II listed mansion, the bill shot up to £5,599 and was only paid after the police were called in

But because of the resistance they were met with at the Grade II listed mansion, the bill shot up to £5,599 and was only paid after the police were called in

The 13-bedroom mansion in North Newton, near Bridgwater, Somerset, is in the middle of an estate with lakes, woodlands, and orchards

The 13-bedroom mansion in North Newton, near Bridgwater, Somerset, is in the middle of an estate with lakes, woodlands, and orchards

Anyone wanting to live a day in the aristocrat's shoes can do so for £20,000 a month, or £4,615 per week. It is being rented through Savills

Anyone wanting to live a day in the aristocrat’s shoes can do so for £20,000 a month, or £4,615 per week. It is being rented through Savills

As England's largest private nature reserve, the land comes with the ancient title of 'Wardwick of the North Moor'. Sir Slade is well known for his antics - he was once charged with possessing a firearm without a certificate and later advertised for a wife

As England’s largest private nature reserve, the land comes with the ancient title of ‘Wardwick of the North Moor’. Sir Slade is well known for his antics – he was once charged with possessing a firearm without a certificate and later advertised for a wife

And last year he was ordered to pay more than £150,000 in damages to two women forced out of their jobs because they were pregnant. Pictured: One of the mansion's grand staircases

And last year he was ordered to pay more than £150,000 in damages to two women forced out of their jobs because they were pregnant. Pictured: One of the mansion’s grand staircases 

Sir Benjamin acted in a ¿high-handed and oppressive manner¿ after claiming events planners Melissa Biggs and Roxanne Stewart had ¿timed¿ their pregnancies to ¿spite him¿, an employment tribunal heard

Sir Benjamin acted in a ‘high-handed and oppressive manner’ after claiming events planners Melissa Biggs and Roxanne Stewart had ‘timed’ their pregnancies to ‘spite him’, an employment tribunal heard

As England’s largest private nature reserve, the land comes with the ancient title of ‘Wardwick of the North Moor’. 

Sir Slade is well known for his antics – he was once charged with possessing a firearm without a certificate and later advertised for a wife. 

Sir Benjamin Slade, 74, previously made headlines in 2012 after police staged a dramatic raid on his home

Sir Benjamin Slade, 74, previously made headlines in 2012 after police staged a dramatic raid on his home

And last year he was ordered to pay more than £150,000 in damages to two women forced out of their jobs because they were pregnant.

Sir Benjamin acted in a ‘high-handed and oppressive manner’ after claiming events planners Melissa Biggs and Roxanne Stewart had ‘timed’ their pregnancies to ‘spite him’, an employment tribunal heard.

He previously made headlines in 2012 after police staged a dramatic raid on his home.  

The aristocrat was later charged with possessing a firearm without a certificate and breaching a shotgun certificate by leaving a weapon unsecured.  

He said he used the shotgun to shoot at foxes from his bedroom window. 

An online advertisement for the property reads: ‘The accommodation includes 13 characterful bedrooms, with an additional four bedrooms on the ground level of the newly renovated south wing in close proximity to the main house.

‘At the ground level, the Ball Room has been converted into two beautifully decorated period drawing rooms together with a large dining room library, cloakrooms, grand panelled entrance hall and large kitchen.

‘The property and furnishings are steeped in history with some artefacts dating back to the Roman period, with secret passages and hidden staircases adding to the charm.

‘Maunsel House is a wonderfully welcoming home, beautifully furnished with more than a touch of eccentricity!’

An online advertisement for the property reads: 'The accommodation includes 13 characterful bedrooms, with an additional four bedrooms on the ground level of the newly renovated south wing in close proximity to the main house'

An online advertisement for the property reads: ‘The accommodation includes 13 characterful bedrooms, with an additional four bedrooms on the ground level of the newly renovated south wing in close proximity to the main house’

It continues: 'At the ground level, the Ball Room has been converted into two beautifully decorated period drawing rooms together with a large dining room library, cloakrooms, grand panelled entrance hall and large kitchen. 'The property and furnishings are steeped in history with some artefacts dating back to the Roman period, with secret passages and hidden staircases adding to the charm'

It continues: ‘At the ground level, the Ball Room has been converted into two beautifully decorated period drawing rooms together with a large dining room library, cloakrooms, grand panelled entrance hall and large kitchen. ‘The property and furnishings are steeped in history with some artefacts dating back to the Roman period, with secret passages and hidden staircases adding to the charm’

The house, built in either the late 14th or early 15th century, is believed to be one of the locations where that Geoffrey Chaucer wrote part of 'The Canterbury Tales'

The house, built in either the late 14th or early 15th century, is believed to be one of the locations where that Geoffrey Chaucer wrote part of ‘The Canterbury Tales’

Sir Benjamin Julian Alfred Slade, 7th Baronet, inherited his baronetcy from his father in 1962, and is usually known as Sir Ben Slade.

Sir Benjamin made headlines last year after publicising his search to find a wife who can provide him with two sons.

His eyebrow-raising list of requirements for the perfect ‘breeder’ stated she should be taller than 5ft 6ins – preferably 6ft 1ins or 6ft 2ins – aged between 30 and 40, possess a gun licence and be ‘castle trained’. 

The house, built in either the late 14th or early 15th century, is believed to be one of the locations where that Geoffrey Chaucer wrote part of ‘The Canterbury Tales’.

It currently serves as a wedding venue.

There is currently no explanation why he is renting the home out.

Sir Slade been approached for comment.

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