Heritage is worth buying. Smart money likes an ancient house with a love story or a horror tale and a ghost in every bedroom. A home with a bit of history makes you feel part of the constant march of the generations and in tune with your ancestors. It also provides great emergency chat at dull dinner parties. Unfortunately, we haven’t all inherited vast country piles that have been in the family since Domesday. So, we must reach for the next best thing and buy one.
Villa Jako, Germany, €10m (£8.2m)
Where: Blankenese, Hamburg
What: Estate on the River Elbe, former home of Karl Lagerfeld
Why: Fashion designer Lagerfeld says Villa Jako is the most beautiful house he has ever lived in. He moved into the 1920s neo-classical villa in 1992, renamed it after his lover Jacques de Bascher (who died in 1989), and decorated it in an art deco style. The house, which is about 5,400 sq ft (500 sq metres) with 20ft-high ceilings and a “garden hall” comprising the whole ground floor, is on the list of historic monuments in Hamburg and features in Lagerfeld’s photographic book, Ein Deutsches Haus.
Who: Hamptons International, tel: +44 (0)1403 262828, www.hamptons.co.uk
Rheebokshoogte, South Africa, R37m (£3.2m)
Where: Paarl Mountain, Boland, South Africa
What: 17th-century farmhouse with 240 acres
Why: Rheebokshoogte is one of Boland’s earliest farms, the land having been granted by Cape governor Simon van der Stel in 1692 to farmer and hunter Thinus Dirksz van Schalkwyk. At the head of a valley, in a low-crime area bordering a nature reserve, the farm is being marketed to seekers of a rural idyll rather than mucky-handed agriculturalists. As well as thefarmhouse, designated a national monument, there is an eight-bedroom house and a mountain cottage, among other buildings.
Who: Pam Golding Properties, tel: +27 (0)21 871 1480, www.pamgolding.co.za
The Normans Estate, UK, £5m
Where: Rusper, West Sussex
What: 28-acre estate, 31 miles from central London
Why: William the Conqueror gave Normans to his chef, William De Mutton, in the 11th century. It stayed in the family for 800 years until a 19th-century De Mutton, a flamboyant gambler, threw its house keys into the pot during a late-night card game. Parts of the nine- bedroom house date to 1450 but subsequent owners have modernised and enlarged it, adding a tennis court and outdoor and indoor pools.
Who: Hamptons International, tel: +44 (0)1403 262 828, www.hamptons.co.uk
Bayleys Plantation, Barbados, $30m (£19m)
Where: Parish of St Philip, south-east Barbados.
What: 15-bedroom rock star’s mansion.
Why: The original “great house” of Joseph Bayley’s plantation, built between 1719 and 1738. In 1816 Bussa, head ranger of Bayleys, led Barbados’ biggest ever slave revolt and remains a local hero. Now owned by Electric Avenue singer Eddie Grant, the 15 bedrooms, recording studio, pool, football pitch and stables are perfect for entertaining your rock star friends (guests have already included The Rolling Stones).
Who: Savills, tel: +44 (0)20 7016 3740, www.savills.com/abroad
Lisburne Grange, US, $4.25m (£2.7m)
Where: Hudson Valley, Garrison, New York
What: Three-storey manor house just outside New York
Why: This 1862 manor in 16 acres was the home of Samuel Sloan, founder of the Hudson River railroad, state senator and adviser to Abraham Lincoln. Its 30 rooms include a ballroom and a library with a hidden study while its grounds feature a meadow, swimming pool and terraced gardens. The house looks across the Hudson River to West Point, site of a stronghold in the War of Independence and now home to the US military academy.
Who: Heather Croner Real Estate, tel: +1 845 677 9822, www.heathercronerrealestate.com