An aristocrat is fighting an attempt by her landlord to evict her from her Grade II listed rental home over allegations that her 20 animals were causing ‘damage’ to the property.
Lady Patricia Ramshaw has claimed that she has been forced to live in freezing conditions as Old House in Ranworth, Norfolk, has no central heating and is plagued by damp and mould.
Its owners, members of the wealthy land-owning Cator family of Norfolk, in turn accused her of keeping pigs that “destroyed” the 18th-century property’s garden.
She is also said to have allowed the animals to live with her in the £3,500-a-month rental house, allegedly breaking lease terms which only allowed her to keep two dogs.
Lady Ramshaw, who has four dogs, including three Great Danes, two horses, two pigs, a goat, several ducks and chickens, and a flock of sheep, began renting the property in November 2021.
Lady Patricia Ramshaw has claimed she was forced to live in freezing conditions in her Grade II listed rental house in Ranworth, Norfolk.
Lady Ramshaw is accused of painting interior walls an ‘iron grey’ colour, but says she has been living with mold and damp in the 18th-century property.
He claims he initially paid a year’s rent in advance in November 2021 when he moved into The Old House on the banks of Ranworth Broad.
But the tenure turned out to be far from harmonious and ended in a legal battle with his attempts to evict her from the two-story house, which dates from 1754.
It has now culminated in Lady Ramshaw taking her landlord Sam Cator to residential property court to challenge the family’s attempts to evict her.
She claims that the Cators have not taken responsibility for the proper upkeep of the property and are “harassing” her in an effort to get her out of the house.
Lady Ramshaw even claimed that her activities had been monitored by family members from the 100-foot tower of the nearby 14th-century St Helen’s Church in Ranworth.
Lady Ramshaw received an eviction notice in January 2022, just three months after moving out; the matter is now being heard in court.
The owners claim that Lady Patricia Ramshaw has broken the lease because of the number of animals she has.
She said that living in the ‘frozen’ house left sick with pneumonia, after moving into the house she thought had central heating.
Not only did he discover that he hadn’t, but that the only heating available came from four ‘old’ and seven new oil-filled radiators that the owners had provided, he said.
Lady Ramshaw told the court: ‘At Christmas I had pneumonia for weeks from the cold here. I didn’t know there was no central heating when I moved in.
‘It was advertised in the Eastern Daily Press newspaper as the best house to rent in the area.
‘I visited it before, it was beautiful and I described it as ‘cosy and warm’.
‘The week I moved I froze. My head ached from the cold.
Inside the Old House in Ranworth, Norfolk, which is at the center of an eviction row between tenant and landlords
Mr Cator’s mother, Jane Cator, who was also called to testify at the hearing, claimed that Lady Ramshaw had breached her lease by bringing animals “in large numbers” onto the land.
He also accused her of subletting the property on AirBnB and painting the interior walls an ‘iron grey’ colour.
Mrs Cator said: ‘Your pigs absolutely destroyed the gardens.’
Cator’s estate claims that he originally gave Lady Ramshaw permission to move in with two dogs and a handful of sheep, on the condition that the animals not enter the arboretum on the property.
Lady Ramshaw received an eviction notice in January 2022, just three months after moving in, leading to negotiations between the parties over terms.
But talks broke down, with a dispute largely centering on calls from Lady Ramshaw for a refund of her rent and a £13,000 utility bill.
Lady Ramshaw said: ‘The week I moved in I was trying to arrange with the landlord where the animals were going to go.
‘We had a meeting about heating, then since December they started trying to evict me. He had paid a year’s rent in advance.
The dispute largely centered on calls from Lady Ramshaw for a refund of her rent and a £13,000 utility bill.
The court audience heard how an original deal was made that would have paid Lady Ramshaw.
But Cator admitted that the terms of the deal had changed.
Lady Ramshaw claimed during the hearing that Mrs Cator had frequently turned up at the property unannounced “on at least 20 occasions”.
She claimed that she had once seen Mrs Cator looking after her from the tower of Ranworth Church, though the Cators vehemently denied the suggestion.
Lady Ramshaw asked in court: ‘You write that you were at the top of the church tower and that you saw me. How do you think that came about?
Mrs Cator replied: ‘I didn’t say I saw you. I say that I saw a very big pig in front of the house.
Lady Ramshaw pictured in the Old House in Ranworth, Norfolk
Disputes about the status of the property and the color of the walls are subject to a court hearing
He added that when he had visited the church tower it would have been to remember loved ones.
When asked why she wished to evict Lady Ramshaw, Mrs Cator said: “Because of the damage her animals were causing to the property.”
James Castle, representing the Cators, said: “The claimant believes this has all been part of a grand conspiracy to force her to leave.” But that does not agree at all with her testimony.
He added that Lady Ramshaw had “zero respect for property and zero respect for the world around her”.
The court’s judge, Stephen Evans, said a written decision would be issued in the next four weeks.
He added: “This is not going to be the kind of case where both sides come out shining in glory.”
The Cator family has been contacted for comment.