A DERELICT stately home steeped in history and set in one of the most romantic corners of the North-East is for sale for more than half-a-million pounds.

Sockburn Hall comes complete with a ruined Saxon church, and a wonderful legend about a dragon being slain nearby.

The hall, in a secluded loop of the River Tees near Neasham, was built in 1834 on the site of a medieval manor house which was once reputedly the home of Sir John Conyers, the knight who killed the Sockburn Worm.

The Grade II* listed hall has been in poor repair for decades, although in recent years volunteers have cleared the overgrown grounds and English Heritage has provided a grant to make the roof watertight.

“We are given to understand that the structure of the building is pretty sound but it needs a complete makeover,” said Sarah Geary, of the Sockburn Hall Project. “It has not really been modernised since it was built, and has still got most of its original features. It is essentially 1834, so there’s huge potential.”

It is being sold by the Gatheral family which have owned it since the mid-1950s.

“It is no secret that it has fallen into disrepair for all sorts of reasons and action needed to be taken,” said Mrs Geary. “The grounds had become completely overgrown and almost sinister so in 2007, my daughter, Laura, started the project and with some absolutely amazing volunteers, they have transformed the site, giving back to us the skeleton of what it used to be like.

“We have now taken it as far as we can. We are not in a position to fund the restoration and repairs, and we would hate to see it fall into disrepair again.”

The hall with the Grade I listed church and Grade II listed stableblock, or coach-house, is being marketed by Jackston-Stops and Staff of York, with offers in excess of £500,000 being invited. The brochure says: “Both the hall and the coach house are in a very poor condition and require extensive works to bring them back to their former glory.”

CLICK HERE for the history of Sockburn Hall

Nick Talbot, of the agents, said: “We are marketing it as a residential property, for someone wanting the most fantastic private country house in a wonderful spot, with a stable block with great potential and an old church which is a historic building.

“It is a blank canvas for someone to get hold of and put their own mark on.”

Viewing is by appointment only. For further details, call Jackson-Stops and Staff on 01904-625033.