Former cannabis farm mansion up for sale

Potted history of Flass House: From opium baron’s 19th century manor to £5m cannabis farm

  • Flass House was worth £1.4 million in 2014, but the value dropped after squatters took over the estate
  • The Cumbrian mansion was previously the site of the UK’s biggest ever cannabis farm raid in 2012 
  • It was built in 1851 for opium magnates Lancelot and Wilkinson Dent and remained in the family until 1973

A 19th century mansion, built by opium dealers, that used to be home to a £5 million cannabis farm is up for sale at a cut-rate price. 

Flass House is a Grade II-listed property that was valued at £1.4 million in 2014, however its current value is listed with Right Move Estate Agents as just £460,000.  

The £1 million drop in value is due to the Cumbrian property falling into a decrepit state after squatters took over the abandoned estate.  

It was previously featured on website The Urban Explorer.

A 19th century mansion, built by an opium dealer, that used to be home to a £5 million cannabis farm is up for sale at a cut-rate price

Flass House was valued at £1.4 million in 2014, however its current value as listed with Right Move is just £460,000

Flass House’s condition in 2019 (pictured), after it was left to decrepitude and was used by squatters. It is now on the market for £460,000


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The property was rented out to a London gang. They were arrested in 2012 for cultivating almost 300 kilograms of cannabis

Owner Christine Holmes previously told the Cumberland and West Morland Herald in 2017 that the mansion had turned into a ‘war zone’.

An esteemed history 

  • Flass House built for the Dent family in 1851
  • Sold by Sir Robert Dent in 1973 to historian Frank Walker
  • Turned into a care home, before being sold to Christine Holmes in 2000
  • Mrs Holmes transformed it into a performing academy   
  • It  was awarded to her husband Paul Davies in a divorce settlement
  • Davies turned the mansion into a cannabis farm in 2011
  • The operation was shut down in 2012
  • From 2014 to 2017 the home was overrun with squatters

Mrs Holmes is a former songwriter for singer Cliff Richard.  

‘I was absolutely horrified when I saw it online – I couldn’t believe how anyone could come into my home and believe it was an abandoned building,’ she said.

‘I think it’s becoming a game to them. 

‘They are breaking in every day.’

In 2012, Flass House former owner Paul Davies, Mrs Holmes’ ex-husband, was arrested after it was discovered the mansion was used to grow commercial amounts of cannabis.  

Davies rented out the property to a London gang, who went on to cultivate almost 300 kilograms of marijuana in the mansion.

The Police raid on the property was the UK’s biggest ever cannabis raid at the time.   

In 2015, Davies was jailed for three years and eight months at Carlisle Crown Court after admitting conspiracy to supply drugs between May,1 2011 and May 31, 2012.

Fellow gang members Dean Cameron, 53, of London, and David Lawrence, 32, of Ilford, were jailed for eight years.

Mark Gallagher, 49, of Wolverhampton, and Philip Branigan, 32, of Banstead, Surrey, were jailed for seven years and Charles Neophytou, 47, of Banstead was jailed for five years and six months.

Included among the original features of the 52-room estate was marble fireplaces, ivory door handles and friezes with pearls 

The estate was bought by songwriter Christine Holmes in 2000, however it was awarded to her husband in a divorce settlement

In 1973, a a treasure trove of Mughal Empire artefacts were found in the property’s attic, which were sold for £220,000

The interior of Flass House prior to it falling into the hands of squatters. The tiles are now ashy and pock-marked

Flass House used to feature perfectly mowed lawns and shining white tiles (pictured). It was built in 1853 for opium magnates

In 2014, the estate’s library was adorned with a royal red couch and a wooden desk. The condition now may not be so grand

The 52-room, 20-bedroom mansion was listed on UK Exploration and welcomed hordes of squatters over the past two years

Along with the mansion, the new owners will also get a large range of items left in the house, such as miscellaneous head shots  

Despite its decrepit condition, Flass House is still a Grade II-listed property. It even has its own DVD player and CRT television

Flass House was built in 1851 in the small village of Maulds Meaburn for tea and opium magnates Lancelot and Wilkinson Dent.   

It was constructed in the Palladian style, incorporating elements of a previous house that dated to the 1700s.

Included among the many features of the 52-room estate was marble fireplaces, ivory door handles and friezes with pearls. 

The estate remained within the Dent family until 1973, when it was sold for £17,000 to historian Frank Walsh. 

Prior to selling the property, then-owner Sir Robert Dent found a treasure trove of Mughal Empire artefacts in the property’s attic, which he sold for £220,000.  

Much of the furniture left in the mansion has been completely or partially destroyed by occupying squatters

This estate’s grand piano is surprisingly still in marvelous condition and even has an in-tact piece of sheet music attached

The once beautiful, white-tiled estate is now home to countless cigarette butts, empty bottles and miscellaneous items

An abundance of mould, dirt and grime engulfs Flass House, making this property a serious fixer for the estate’s future owner 

An abandoned car adorns the estate’s driveway among the dead grass and overgrown foliage that surrounds Flass House

 

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