Take My Castle, Please

UPDATED 01/30/2006 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 01/30/2006 at 01:00 AM EST

Available: historic 13-bedroom mansion 155 miles southwest of London. Comes with 1,450 acres and 430 head of cattle. Worth: $10 million. Price: free. Requirements: You have to keep the place up (helps if you're handy—and rich). Oh, and you have to be a blood relation to this guy: Sir Benjamin Slade, a childless aristocrat desperately seeking an American heir—named Slade—to take over the Maunsel House in Somerset. He's tired of the constant care the place requires and short on family members willing to pay the $140,000 in annual expenses. “My English relatives are rich but they're apathetic, and Americans have a can-do attitude,” explains Slade, 59, a retired businessman who made a fortune in the shipping container business. “But God forbid I find my American relatives are all hobos or hippies.”

His search—to be filmed for a Discovery Channel reality show—will take him to Sladesville, N.C., this month. Some present-day Sladesville Slades scoff at the offer, which comes without a stipend for the upkeep. “We don't have any millionaire-quality Slades that I know of,” says insurance agent Irvin Slade, 59. But Sir Benjamin has a backup plan: He had some of his sperm frozen. Still, “I need someone to take over now,” he says, “not in 30 years.”

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