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Britain’s Most Expensive Houses follows top agents from UK Sotheby’s International Realty as they offer insight on some of the most spectacular properties on the market. Channel 4 picked up on the need to provide a little escapism whilst also acknowledging a world-wide trend as people sought properties with more space in light of the pandemic and the stamp duty holiday. The documentary will air at 8PM on the 28th of December.
To tell my story, even in brief, I have to go back…. way back…. to the late 1800’s, to my Great, Great Grandfather, Archibald Cameron Corbett.
The son of a successful Glasgow merchant and philanthropist, Archibald became one of the principle developers of east London, with some prominent areas of London and a residents society , The Corbett Society, is still named after him.
Later he became involved in politics joining the Liberal party & then becoming the MP for Glasgow Tradeston until his retirement from the House of Commons in 1911, when he was created 1st Baron Rowallan.
He was amazingly generous gifting free accommodation and in extreme examples, whole country estates and parks to the local people for their pleasure.
For example, Rouken Glen Park, a beautiful 143 acre house and park, in Glasgow was given to the citizens of Glasgow and similarly the stunning 9,000 acres of the hills to the north west of Glasgow known as Ardgoil Estate (right)
In 1901 Archibald bought the Rowallan Estate, some 6,000 acres in Ayrshire, Scotland and having already got a cold 12th century Scottish castle on it, he decided to build a bigger, modern home for the family to live in…and that’s where I grew up…my childhood home.
The New Castle
My Great grandfather, Thomas, the 2nd Baron Lord Rowallan was awarded the Military Cross in WWI for attempting to dig out some wounded soldiers who had been buried by artillery, while “under heavy fire and in full view of the enemy”, receiving a leg wound which left him with a permanent disability. He became Chief Scout of the Commonwealth and British Empire in 1945, was governor of The Bank of Scotland, received the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh and became a Knight of the Thistle, a position that merits a seat that is still an attraction on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh today. He served as the Governor of Tasmania from 1959 where there are still areas named after him. Thomas was married to Gwyn, who was the sister of Jo Grimond, Baron Grimond, the leader of the Liberal Party.
Now to my Grandfather, Arthur, 3rd Baron Lord Rowallan. A veteran of WWII he won a Croix de Guerre, a French military decoration awarded to those soldiers who distinguish themselves by acts of heroism involving combat with the enemy for his part in the 2nd world war & moved to Spain where he ran several very popular bars restaurants & night clubs.
My Father, John, 4th Baron Lord Rowallan, a chartered surveyor and highly respected international show jumping judge is now retired & lives in Scotland not far from the former family estate.
The estate and my family home were sold in the late 1980’s to pay inheritance tax and other unaffordable costs.
Since my mid-teens I have been a hard worker, working various local jobs gaining experience and always paying my way. Farming was in my blood, driving alongside the combine, collecting the corn and driving all 18 tonnes up and down the A1 in Northumberland to the depot for one job. The scenery working in Morayshire, northern Scotland, east of Inverness, was arguably the most scenic. Selling houses there was simply breath-taking.
I made a decision when living in Edinburgh to make my first proper foray into England to complete my education at The Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, Gloucestershire the place I considered best for training to become a farmer / country estate manager. Whilst there and for a few years after, I worked in various bars /clubs and estate agencies and selling ex MOD properties for a large national developer. I had summers returning to my farming roots working on potato farms; literally working 18 hours a day, 7 days a week earning a fantastic salary and used this as both experience and to save money to contribute to buying my first house.
In 1997 I found a vacancy in an Estate Agency in in Fulham, London. Having never really been to London or indeed lived in London I saw this as a great opportunity and took it. It was there that I flourished in my early career.
In 2003 on the birth of my first child I moved out of London to a small hamlet just outside of beautiful Bath. I worked for several years for one of the world’s leading international properties companies before heading further south to Dorset to a large south western multi discipline agency. I loved that firm, but the bright lights of London beckoned again and we moved again. However, this time not all the way in.
Settling in Cobham, Surrey and now with two children, I commuted to my old London firm who had asked me back! Under my direction, this amazing local firm grew and grew in success and was ultimately bought by a large multi-disciplinary national firm before I finally settled with UK Sotheby’s International Realty. With a few tough life changes under my belt, I am now settled in my job, have a house in the leafy and beautiful village of Cobham and live in a small village outside of Gatwick, just within the Surrey borders.
We have an office right on Cobham High Street close to the meandering River Mole with its resident ducks to the vast array of local shops. From the mix of housing, some of it old and some of it new, large or small, we as a company can engage and can identify with it all. My children went to schools locally in Downside and Cobham and are now in Leatherhead. Cobham is the perfect place for someone with my story. So much of my life experience lends itself to working in Cobham.
UK Sotheby’s International Realty deals with an array of property covering the whole of the UK from our Cobham office. Last year we sold a gloriously positioned mews house in Albury at £455,000 and as I write, I’m working on a sale at around £30,000,000. We really do cover it all and will work on any house for the right client at the right price. It is all about working together, client and agent, as good advice and good marketing will result in amazing sales. It’s not the value of the property that makes UK Sotheby’s Realty so special, it’s the clients that we work with. Any price, anywhere, as long as there’s a market, we can help. Any price, anywhere, in any market, we can help.
Contact Jason Corbett
m +44 (0) 1932 860 537 Email
38 High Street, Cobham
Surrey KT11 2SJ