One of Cornwall’s most historic homes has been sold for at least £500,000 cheaper than its original £2million asking price, after the new owners vowed to maintain its key role in the town’s traditional dance festival.

Michael Jay, 77 refused to sell Lismore House in Helston to anyone who didn’t know anything about the famous Flora Day festival in Cornish town. This is a day-long dance performance that dates back to the Medieval period.

The nine-bedroom country heap’s grounds serve as a staging ground for the annual May festival in which townsfolk celebrate the end of winter and the beginning of Spring. 

After discovering that they had no knowledge about the Flora Day dance, Jay put Lismore House for sale in May 2019. 

Having been unable to find a suitable owner for the property, he eventually knocked down the asking price to £1.5million.

The gorgeous Grade-II-listed property was sold by Sarah Corbridge and Adam Corbridge. They are local jewelers and have lived in Helston since 1997.

Locals Sarah Corbridge and Adam Corbridge have purchased the Grade-II listed property. They own a Cornish jewellery shop chain and have lived in the village 27 years.

The nine-bedroom country pile (pictured) is located in the quaint Cornish town of Helston and plays host to the town's Flora Day dance, a centuries-old annual spring tradition believed to originate from the Medieval period

The nine-bedroom country piling (pictured) is in Helston, a small Cornish town. It hosts the Flora Day dance, an annual spring tradition that dates back to the Medieval period.

Michael Jay, says he received tons of interest and offers for Lismore House (pictured) since it first went on the market in May 2019

Michael Jay claims that he has received lots of interest and offers for Lismore House since it went on the marketplace in May 2019.

But none of the offers were good enough for Mr Jay, as many of the potential buyers revealed they were wanting to buy in the town without even knowing what Flora Day was

Mr Jay was not satisfied with any of the offers, as many potential buyers stated they wanted to purchase in the town but didn’t know Flora Day.

Mr Jay (pictured), 77, who is moving to South East Asia on completion of the sale next month, says he is delighted that property is now going to local couple

Mr Jay (pictured), who is 77, will be moving to South East Asia when the sale is complete next month. Jay says he’s delighted that the property is now going home to a local couple

The grounds of the nine-bedroom country pile are a staging post for the annual May festival, which sees townsfolk dance to celebrate the end of Winter and the beginning of spring

The nine-bedroom country heap’s grounds serve as a staging ground for the annual May festival. This sees townsfolk take part in dance to celebrate the end winter and the beginning spring.

Adam (pictured) and Sarah Corbridge have bought the property for an undisclosed fee

Mr and Mrs Corbridge (pictured) own Wearnes Jewellers in Helston and Falmouth

Adam (left), and Sarah (right), Wearnes Jewellers, in Helston, and Falmouth respectively, have purchased the property for an undisclosed price

You need to have some local knowledge in order to purchase Lismore House.

Believed to originate from as far back as the Medieval Period, the Flora Dance, also known as as Furry Day, is an annual event held in Helston

Flora Dance, also known in Helston as Furry Day, is an annual event believed to have its roots back as far as the Medieval Period.

The Flora Dance, also known by Furry Day, is an annual event that is believed to have originated in Helston.   

This is one of the oldest British festivals, and it’s still practiced today. It sees locals come together on May 8, each year to dance to celebrate the passing winter and the coming of spring. 

Helston’s symbol flower, the lily-of-the-valley, is worn by dancers. Gentlemen wear it on their left with the flowers pointed upwards and ladies wear it upside down on their right.

The event features a series dance performances throughout the day. The first starts at 7am, and the last at 5pm.

Lismore is an important part the Flora Day celebrations, with all four dances entering on the grounds during the annual big day in Mai. 

Mr Jay, 77 years old, is moving to Thailand after the sale is completed. He says he is happy that the property is now going the the local couple who own Wearnes Jewellers, Helston, and Falmouth.

He says he could sell the property sooner than that, having rejected more than two offers over the past two years.  

Lismore is an important part the Flora Day celebrations, with all four dances entering on the grounds during the annual big day in Mai. 

Jay, who was born in the village and has lived in Lismore the past 27 years, stated: ‘I was curious that local people, and hopefully, people actually from Helston would purchase the property.

‘It’s quite famous. It is a historic house that is connected with Helston Flower Day. This is because Lismore was purchased by a local family.

He spoke out about other cases in which homes were bought and altered or worse, and said that he would not allow it to be demolished. It would not be allowed to go to people from the outside.

He claimed he had many offers and interest but turned them down.

He stated that there were many parties interested, but they were all from up the country. They didn’t know much about Helston Flora Day so I wasn’t keen. I was not in a rush to sell the house.

It has taken two years but that is my fault. He said that he wanted to ensure that the buyer was local and that no other interested parties were able to do so. 

Lismore is synonymous to Flora Day celebrations in the town. Lismore arrived at the market hours after the 2019 event. This was the last Flora Day that took place due to the pandemic.

The magnificent residence is situated in lush gardens and grounds covering approximately 2.6 acres. 

Lismore’s picturesque lakes provide the backdrop for traditional dances, and crowds gather to witness them.

The property was on the market with an £2million asking price with Christophers estate agents and was most recently listed for £1.5 million and was sold for an undisclosed sum to Mr and Mrs Corbridge. 

Mrs Corbridge was a former actress and model in early fifties. She told the Times that she had taken part in the Flora Day Dance for many years.

She said: ‘We’ve danced through Lismore many times not knowing that one day we would own it. It’s a Cinderella story.’

Agents Alan Christophers stated at the time that the listing was up: “As a Helston estate agent, we feel extremely privileged” to market Lismore. The integral part it plays during the Flora Day celebrations has meant so much for generations of Helstonians. 

Lismore plays an important part of the Flora Day celebrations with all four dances entering the grounds throughout the annual big day in May

Lismore is an important part the Flora Day celebrations, with all four dances entering on the grounds during the annual big May day.

The grand residence (pictured: One of the living room areas) stands in enviable gardens and grounds of some 2.6 acres. Ordinarily, each year, Lismore's picturesque ponds provide the backdrop to traditional dances as crowds gather to watch

The grand residence is located in beautiful gardens on 2.6 acres. Each year, Lismore’s picturesque lakes provide the backdrop for traditional dances, as crowds gather to witness them.

The property (pictured: A dining room area of the property) was on the market with an £2 million asking price with Christophers estate agents and was most recently listed for £1.5 million and was sold for an undisclosed sum

The property (pictured: A dining room area of the property) was on the market with an £2 million asking price with Christophers estate agents and was most recently listed for £1.5 million and was sold for an undisclosed sum

Agents Alan Christophers said at the time the listing went up: 'As a Helston estate agency we feel extremely privileged to be invited to market Lismore (pictured: One of the living room areas), which has meant so much to generations of Helstonians through the integral part it plays in the Flora Day celebrations

Agents Alan Christophers stated that at the time of listing, they felt privileged to be invited by Helston Estate Agency to market Lismore. (pictured: One living room area). This living room has been so important to generations of Helstonians because of its integral role in Flora Day celebrations.

“It is a beautiful home with magnificent gardens. We, along with Mr Michael Jay, hope that future homeowners will want to continue the association this splendid residence has had with the town’s most important day.

Jay made it clear that he hoped the property’s iconic role would be retained by the future owners.

The estate agency also stated that Lismore plays an important role in Flora Day celebrations. All four dances are allowed to enter the grounds.

“The midday and evening dances revolve around the gardens before stopping for a rest on lawns before they exit the house. 

‘It is customary that the Lismore owner has the honor of walking at the front in the procession through its gardens.

“Previous owners have loved the relationship that the property has had with Flora Day, and it is Mr Jay’s hope that the new owners will enjoy the opportunity to continue this tradition.”   

Mr Jay made it very clear that he had hoped that the future owners would maintain the property's iconic role. Pictured: One of the living room areas of the property

Jay stated that he hoped that the property’s iconic status would be preserved by the new owners. Pictured: A view of one of the living rooms of the property

Mr Jay, who has called Lismore House (pictured: The kitchen of the property) his home for the past 27 years, said: 'I was interested that local people, and hopefully people actually from Helston, would buy the property

Mr Jay, who has made Lismore House (pictured : The kitchen of this property) his home for 27 years, stated: “I was interested in local people, and hopefully people from Helston would buy the property.”

The Grade II Lismore (pictured) is synonymous with the town's Flora Day celebrations, and arrived on the market hours after the 2019 event, the last Flora Day that occurred due to the pandemic

The Grade II Lismore (pictured), is synonymous with Flora Day celebrations in the town. It arrived on the market just hours after the 2019 event, which was the last Flora Day due to the pandemic.

This revelation by Jay comes as statistics revealed earlier this year that Cornwall has just 1% of England’s population, but it has 17% of the country’s second homes.

In recent years, locals have been asking questions about affordability. Locals are angry that house prices in Cornwall are so high, they say they can’t afford to live there. 

The resort of Megavissey boasts typical property prices of £300,000 – 20 times the average local salary.

Many famous faces are also homeowners in the County – although it is not believed that they rent out their properties.

Dame Judi Dench owns a house near St Ives, while celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay owns three properties – including a £6million mansion in the fishing village of Rock.

Data from Cornwall Council shows where the county's 13,500 second homes were distributed in 2018

Cornwall Council data shows the distribution of the county’s 13,500 second home in 2018.

Since 1998, TV hosts Richard Madeley & Judy Finnegan own Steward House at Talland Bay near Polperro.

Rebecca Hemingway, from Fowey Folk Museum, said: ‘There’s nobody with a view of the sea that’s local — maybe one.

‘It’s too late to do anything about the second homes situation now — it would be nice for the community if there were more affordable homes. There’s a handful at the top, but not enough.’

Escape to the country: House prices of £2million properties in rural areas rise by the fastest rate in a decade

House prices of £2million properties in rural areas have risen by the fastest rate in a decade as wealthy people in cities hunt for countryside retreats across the UK.

The Cotswolds, Scotland, and the southwest were the most sought-after properties in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset. 

While countryside homes like these have increased in value by an average of £111,000 (5.5 per cent), a similarly priced flat or house in central London went down in value by an average of £8,000 (0.4 per cent) last year.

According to Savills, the reason for the rise in house prices is that people sought a lifestyle change and recognized the relative value of the available options.

The price shifts were documented in the Savills prime home price index, which showed the highest growth since 2010.

In the rest of the prime London market (defined as the top five per cent of the market), where £2million would typically secure an additional 1,000 square feet of accommodation and more garden space, gains averaged £36,000.

Lucian Cook, Savills head for residential research, stated at the time that “The unique circumstances of 2020” have resulted in a surge of activity at the top of the housing market.

“This has supported the prices and delivered some unexpected benefits, but it’s not resulted a runaway price increase.

 

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