A historic Canterbury homestead with links to European nobility and which last sold for $1.6million five years ago is on the market.

St Helens Station in Hanmer Springs, North Canterbury was established by English settler J.W.A Watts in 1858.

After his death in 1862, French-descended English aristocrat Count Gerard de Lapasture and his brother Henry took over the run.

In 1877, St Helens was purchased by W.A Low - the great-uncle of British spy R.H Bruce Lockhart, whose adventures in Russia influenced author Ian Fleming's creation of James Bond.


Low also purchased several neighbouring runs and amalgamated them to create St Helens Station, at one stage encompassing 101,000 hectares.

During the 1890s, high country runs hit hard times and the mortgagee took over St Helens from Low, placing a manager on the property until St Helens was purchased in 1916 by F.J Savill - a son of a founder of the British shipping company Shaw Savill - who had emigrated to New Zealand from England.

After buying St Helens, Savill commissioned Armson, Collins and Harman to design a large, new modern homestead in 1917.

The architects designed St Helens in the Arts and Crafts style fashionable in English country houses at the time. The resulting present dwelling is the third homestead on the site.

Now, after having only four owners in 99 years, St Helens has been placed on the market for sale by negotiation.

Bayleys Canterbury salesperson Wendy Miles said the homestead's current owners had undertaken substantial renovation, restoration and conservation work to ensure the longevity of the historic North Canterbury property.

The 750m² homestead features four formal or casual living areas, a modern kitchen, library, conservatory, large entrance hall, playroom and extensive covered veranda. There are six large bedrooms and an office or seventh bedroom, four luxurious modern bathrooms, including six toilets, and various original servants' rooms.

"The homestead has been completely renovated and restored in order to meet the requirements of modern living, while preserving the unique historical features that give the building its character," said Ms Miles.

"Its location - close to Hanmer Springs and Christchurch City - make it possible to enjoy the privacy and serenity of country living while not missing out on the hustle and bustle of city life when the need arises."