£650,000 wanted for Eden Valley mansion which still displays signs of grandeur

Date: Saturday 18th July 1998

A GRAND mansion built in the last century partly from the proceeds of opium sales has been put up for sale by its current owner.

A GRAND mansion built in the last century partly from the proceeds of opium sales has been put up for sale by its current owner.

Flass, near Maulds Meaburn, was built in 1847 by Lancelot and Wilkinson Dent. Now, a century and a half later, the Grade II listed 40-room mansion is on the market to any purchaser who can come up with the £650,000 asking price.

Current owner Malcolm Whiteside bought Flass in 1982 for £115,000 and originally modernised it with the aim of running it as a residential care home.

However, because of changes in fire regulations that never came about the Whitesides put the house on the market in 1991. Now it is up for sale again, complete with 15 acres of land.

The Dent brothers inherited an earlier house on the site in 1847 which they demolished and replaced with a building as close in spirit to a London gentlemen’s club as possible.

Both were wealthy tea traders but Lancelot Dent was known to have traded in opium and his threatened arrest by the Chinese Viceroy was one of the major events leading up to the opium wars between Britain and China.

No expense was spared in the house, with door handles fashioned out of ivory and balustrades made out of French wrought iron.

Many of the gems inside remained hidden until the then owner, Sir Robert Dent, broke down the door of an attic in 1973.

He found a series of miniature statues from the Moghul Empire of 16th Century India, which were later sold for £220,000, more than the house itself was worth.

When Sir Robert and Lady Elspeth Dent sold the house at the same time it went for only £17,000, which in the early 70s would have bought a couple of semis in suburban London.

It was then purchased by industrialist and banker Frank Welsh, who set about furnishing it in it original mid-19th Century style. It was bought in 1982 for £115,000 by Mr. Whiteside.

The house still displays its days of grandeur. As well as drawing rooms and dining rooms there is a morning room, a billiards room and a saloon.

Built in the Palladian style the house is arranged around a central hall which rises to the full height of the building, upstairs rooms leading off a gallery.

Many examples of original features still remain. The library has shelves with glass doors by Gillows of Lancaster and even a secret door through the book case to the drawing room.