Architect buys Cumbrian farmhouse used in Withnail film

Michael Hunt

United Utilities has sold a derelict Cumbrian farmhouse made famous in the 1987 film Withnail and I to architect Tim Ellis for an undisclosed sum.

Ellis, who is from Canterbury, is hoping to restore Sleddale Hall, near Shap, to create a house he can live in if planning permission is granted by the council.

Commenting on the United Utilities website, 41-year-old Ellis said: "I am delighted to have had a second chance to buy this beautiful building. I first saw the film about seven years ago and have been a fan ever since. I would like to restore the building in a way that other fans of the film could approve of. There is a lot of work to be done before I can draw up firm plans but my intention is not to deprive Sleddale's many admirers of its links with its iconic past."

In February this year, Seb Hindley, a publican who owns the nearby Mardale Inn, bought the building, known as Uncle Monty's Cottage in the film, at auction for £265,000, but the deal fell through.

The 18th-century building sits on the north side of Wet Sleddale valley and is only accessible via a dirt track and is almost two miles from the nearest public road and a mile from the nearest inhabited house.

The farmhouse featured in key scenes in the comedy Withnail and I, starring Richard E Grant and Liverpool-born actor Paul McGann.

It is built from stone and Lake District slate and was acquired by the Manchester Corporation in the 1920s, which became part of North West Water, known now as United Utilities.

Celebrities such as Kate Moss and Chris Evans were rumoured to have shown an interest in buying Sleddale Hall.

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