As James Laing of Strutt & Parker reminds us from time to time: ?Ever since the Industrial Revolution, rich industrialists have been keen to invest in land, and with the exception of a 40 year period between the late 1890s and the 1930s, they have rarely lost money?.

The same thing is happening today, says Mr Laing, who believes that ?pride of ownership? is a key factor in a rich buyer?s decision to invest in a landed estate. Recent examples include the 2000-acre Saltby estate in Lincolnshire, sold by Strutts for more than the £6 million guide price, and the 2,300 acre Ashby St Ledgers estate in Northamptonshire (advertised in Country Life on July 7, 2005) on which contracts are about to be exchanged at about the £10m guide price.

This week, Strutt & Parker (01244 220500) launch the small, but perfectly formed Delamere Manor estate at Cuddingon, Cheshire, on the market at a guide price of £5.5m. Described by Mr Laing as ?a good country estate which has been loved, renovated and looked after by people who have made money from doing something else?, Delamere Manor was previously owned by the Wilbraham family, who established a family seat at Cuddington in 1784.

The present manor house was built by the last George Wilbraham as a replacement for the original Delamere House, shortly before the Second World War.

Delamere Manor sits in 117 acres of land, surrounded by woodland and over-looking a six-acre lake and classic, park land style grounds, complete with pavilion, lime-avenue and obelisk.

The present owners have adapted the interior to suit their own style of living, decora-ting the four main reception rooms and three principal bedroom suites ?in the grand country house style?, and the less formal, family rooms in ?a more contemporary manner?. Innovations include a recording studio, a meditation room, and state of the art entertainment, security and alarm systems.

The estate includes a three bedroom lodge, a four-bedroom cottage, plus barns and stabling.

This article first appeared in Country Life magazine on September 22, 2005. To subscribe click here.