Norfolk stately home neighbour dispute sees campsite owner in court

Bylaugh Hall

Bylaugh Hall, near Swanton Morley, was once the third largest estate in Norfolk. - Credit: Archant

A campsite owner has appeared in court amid a long-running dispute with the owners of neighbouring Norfolk stately home. 

Andreas Medler, 52, of Beechwood Avenue in Aylmerton, is accused of criminal damage over allegations he destroyed the lawn at Bylaugh Hall. 

Norwich magistrates heard he also faces a charge of theft following an incident involving dogs belonging to Ben Budworth, owner of Bylaugh Hall.  

Mr Budworth, who is owner and publisher of The Lady magazine, bought the historic hall, just outside Swanton Morley, overlooking the Wensum Valley, in 2016.

Bylaugh Hall and neighbouring Bylaugh Country Park caravan and camp site.

Bylaugh Hall and neighbouring Bylaugh Country Park caravan and camp site. - Credit: Google

Mr Medler, who pleaded not guilty to criminal damage and theft of a dog collar, is owner of the neighbouring Bylaugh Country Park caravan and camp site.

Ian Fisher, defending, said police had been “involved over quite some time” over the “relationship between the parties and events such as these”.

He told the court: “These are allegations that do have a context and background. The parties are neighbours who owner-occupy neighbouring land and premises.

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“The allegation of theft of a dog collar relates to one he intended to be given to the police when it was taken because my client's defence is that he was set upon by the dogs and he removed the collar from one of them as evidence.”

The court adjourned the case until February 24 next year. 

Mr Medler, who was charged after voluntarily attending a police station to be interviewed over the allegations in February 2021, was given unconditional bail.

Helen Robinson and Ben Budworth

Helen Robinson and Ben Budworth bought Bylaugh Hall in 2016 after years of it being derelict. Matthew Usher. - Credit: Archant

Designed by the same architect who created the Houses of Parliament and Downton Abbey's Highclere Castle, Bylaugh Hall was once the third largest estate in Norfolk - after Holkham and Sandringham – boasting 17,000 acres around the impressive stone hall complete with obelisks and heraldic beasts.

Having become derelict Mr Budworth bought the run-down property with partner and magazine managing director Helen Robinson with the aim of restoring it.

In 2016 they said they planned to turn the 74-bedroom, 73-bathroom mansion into a training centre for household staff, from butlers to bodyguards and chauffeurs to chalet girls.

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