Peel Group has paid an undisclosed sum for the 980-acre Hulton Park Estate in Lancashire, the first time the estate has changed hands in 1,000 years.
Peel declined to say if it would apply for consent to build on the estate and said it "remains committed to investment in the agricultural sector". Selling agent Smiths Gore said the estate does have residential and leisure development potential.
The estate, near junction 5 of the M61, was acquired in four lots and comprises 713 acres of park and agricultural land, 211 acres of woodland and lakes, six farms and seven residential properties
The estate includes the site of the former Hulton Hall which was demolished in 1958. The park land is described by the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest as an "early 19th Century landscape park, with plantations by John Webb, and the remains of pleasure grounds and a kitchen garden of the same period".
The Hulton family's occupation of the Hulton Park Estate is documented since 1167, although there is evidence that the Hultons were there as early as 989. It is reputed to be the lengthiest uninterrupted occupation of any UK estate and the estate has never previously been sold.
Louise Morrissey, director of land and planning, said: "Hulton Park is a fantastic property with a lot of history which we believe strengthens and complements our existing portfolio in the area."