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The Norfolk Landowner Map of Count Luca Padulli & Albanwise Limited

Updated: Apr 29

Meet Count Luca Padulli - major Norfolk landowner and Italian aristocrat.

Brexit may have dampened relations between Britain and its European neighbours - but it has not dampened the appetite of rich Europeans for Britain's ultimate asset - its land. The past 30 - 40 years have seen wildly affluent Europeans hoover up thousands of acres of Norfolk land, including farms, forests and country mansions. Through acquisition sprees associated with eye-watering sums, members of this international set have have even become some of Norfolk's largest landowners.

Count Luca Padulli di Vighignolo, the ex-hedge fund manager born into a noble Italian family from Milan, has through time become the largest of these international buyers of Norfolk land. Padulli now owns a major swathe of Norfolk via holding company Albwanwise Limited, including four country mansions and over 14,000 acres of land. This makes him the county's third largest private landowner, behind only the British monarch King Charles and the prestigious Norfolk aristocrat Lord Thomas Coke, the 8th Earl of Leicester.

The Norfolk Landownership Map of Count Luca Padulli and Albanwise Limited

Note: this map is likely incomplete as Count Luca is continuously buying up new parcels of land. Who Owns Norfolk will update the map as new data becomes available.

This Italian count owns 1% of Norfolk's land area. If the rest of the county was divided along these lines, it would be owned by just 100 people (though Norfolk's population is over 900,000).

In many ways, Count Padulli is emblematic of Britain's broken landownership system - over the decades he has been buying up the freehold to leasehold properties across the UK, and now owns over 100,000 properties through which he can generate enormous income by charging ground rents to unfortunate leaseholders. The rich get richer at the expense of the poor.

Count Luca Padulli - the major Norfolk landowner who was born in 1955

Count Luca Padulli - the major Norfolk landowner who was born in 1955

What land in Norfolk does Count Luca Padulli own?

Count Luca Padulli's Norfolk property empire is centred on two large estates - Barton Bendish Estate, consisting of fertile ex-fenland arable near Downham Market in West Norfolk (~ 4,600 acres), and the Saxlingham and Gunthorpe Estate (~5,000 acres), located near Holt in North Norfolk.

It is unknown when exactly Count Luca Padulli started buying land in Norfolk. However, we know he bought the Barton Bendish Estate in 1992 and by 1996 he was also a director of Saxlingham Farms Ltd, indicating that he owned this estate by that time, too. Both of these estates were previously the homes of ancient Norfolk gentry families - Barton Bendish had been owned by the Berneys from 1665 to 1943, while the Sparke family owned the Saxlingham and Gunthorpe estate from 1830 to the 1970s.

Barton Bendish Hall - owned by Count Luca Padulli

Barton Bendish Hall, in West Norfolk - built in the late 1500s and remodelled in 1856

Count Luca Padulli's Norfolk Landholdings:
  • Saxlingham & Gunthorpe Estate - 5,000 acres

  • Barton Bendish Estate - 4,600 acres

  • The Wimbotsham Estate, Downham Market - 1,200 acres

  • Hackford Hall Farm, Reepham - 900 acres

  • Rugg's Hall Farm, North Walsham - 600 acres

  • Part of Manor Farm, Crimplesham - 590 acres

  • Kempstone Lodge Farm, Litcham - 450 acres

  • Dunham Lodge Park - 380 acres

  • Land at Bawdeswell - 160 acres

Padulli's Norfolk estate includes four of the county's most beautiful country mansions:

Barton Bendish Hall (pictured above)

Gunthorpe Hall - built in 1789 but rebuilt in c. 1880

This property can apparently sleep 50 people and is available for booking

Gunthorpe Hall - owned by Count Luca Padulli

Dunham Lodge - built in the 1780s

Dunham Lodge - owned by Count Luca Padulli

Hackford Hall, Reepham - built in the 1600s, remodeled in the early 1800s

Hackford Hall - owned by Count Luca Padulli

How did Count Luca Padulli make his money?

The origins of Padulli's wealth lie in finance; according to the Times he chose finance as a career, and obtained a doctorate in economics. He worked for Chase Manhattan Bank and Paribas, before moving to the UK in 1978 and setting up his own investment firm in London. He co-founded the Camomille Associates hedge fund, which reportedly once had assets of £2bn.

What other land does Count Padulli own?

Count Padulli does not just own land in Norfolk. In total, journalists estimate he owns 29,000 acres across the UK alone. In 2017, he bought an entire Yorkshire village (West Heslerton - including a 21-bed mansion), and was recently identified as the buyer of the 5,000 acre Lugalla Estate in Ireland.

Who Owns Norfolk West Norfolk map can be seen below - its other maps are available on the Maps homepage.

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