SPIKE Milligan’s former Udimore home which he denounced as ‘the ugliest house in the world’ has sold for around £1.6 million.
The legendary comedian bought Carpenter’s Meadow, on Dumbwoman’s Lane, for around £360,000 in the eighties when he wanted to escape London.
He lived there, with wife Shelagh from 1988 until his death, aged 83, 10 years ago. He is now buried in the churchyard at nearby Winchelsea.
The house was designed by the architect C P McLaughlin and constructed in the mid 1960s.
But Spike laughingly called it ‘bloody awful’ and even had an alternative nameplate made for it called ‘The Blind Architect’
Carpenter’s Meadow is a spacious five bedroomed house with dramatic views over the Brede Valley to the Channel beyond.
But the former Goon even decided to dispose of it in Room 101 when he appeared on the popular BBC television programme, in 1999, telling host Paul Merton: ““It’s bloody awful. When I saw a photograph, I said to the estate agent, ‘It looks as if it’s made from white stone.’ He said, ‘Yes, it is.’ “But it isn’t. It’s built from concrete blocks. It’s all blank, blank, blank. That’s why I hate it: because I own it.”
Asked by Merton if there was something he could do to improve his home, Milligan added thoughtfully: “You could set fire to it.”
Spike had got to know the Rye area because the producer of The Goon Show, Peter Eton, lived at Winchelsea and Spike would often go down for the weekend.
In a national newspaper interview Shelagh explained how Spike came to buy the Udimore house he would later denounce as ugly.
She said: “Spike didn’t say much when we came to look around,” says Shelagh. “But he had always suffered from noise and his biggest concern was the seclusion and quiet. The rest didn’t really come into the equation.”
While living at Udimore Spike would often drop in to listen to jazz sessions at the nearby Plough at Cock Marling and often held book signings at Rye’s Martello Books.
Along with Sir Paul McCartney he also took part in a public march in Rye to campaign against plans to close the Rye Hospital.
Emma Thompson and Harry Secombe were frequent visitors. Less welcome were the sightseers. Spike rarely answered the door, often hiding when the bell rang.
Carpenters may lack period charm but is certainly well-built. The house was exposed to the full force of the great storm of October 16, 1987 and survived without a tile out of place.