AN AMERICAN billionaire has bought historic Crichel House more than two years after it was put on the market.

Richard L Chilton, who was raised in the suburbs of New Jersey, has purchased the Grade I listed property for a reported £34 million.

However, the 58-year-old did not buy the full estate, which was put on the market for £100 million, and includes four villages, a cricket club, a church and a school.

The Daily Echo reported that locals believed an American would be buying the property in April, but it was speculated that a Texan horse breeder was in the frame. Residents said they believed that only the house and around 150 acres had been sold.

It is believed that Mr Chilton, CEO of an investment company and father-of-four, is planning to revive the Classical Revival property after buying it from the Marten family.

It is said he has a $1.2 billion fortune.

Mr Chilton’s spokesperson told a national newspaper: “In purchasing Crichel House, Mr Chilton, who has a rich history of preserving and restoring some of the finest architectural houses in the United States, is excited to restore and preserve its architectural integrity.” The Crichel estate spans 5,000 acres, and comes with 100 workers and more than 150 other properties.

It was owned by the same aristocratic family for 300 years before being sold, and the last owner was Mary Marten OBE, goddaughter of the Queen Mother and a child playmate of Princess Margaret.

It was then passed down to her six children, Victoria, Charlotte, Georgina, Amabel, Napier and Sophia.

Crichel House has more than 25 rooms, a ballroom and a wine cellar.

The property overlooks a crescent-shaped ornamental lake.