THE new owners of a historic 16th century Bewdley Mansion have been revealed as two 20-something millionaire property entrepreneurs.

Brothers Samuel and Russell Leeds – who left school at the age of 16 - snapped up Ribbesford House and revealed they plan to restore it to its former glory with a sensitive development of luxury apartments for rent.

There are another two cottages on the 8.15-acre site, bordering the River Severn, which may be turned into holiday lets.

The Leeds brothers paid £800,000 at auction for the Grade II listed estate which boasts a wealth of history going back to William the Conqueror and has associations with figures such as Charles de Galle and Rudyard Kipling.

The house, set over three storeys with two octagonal towers to the rear, was built in the mid-16th century and still retains many of its original features including wood-panelled rooms.

It is already split into 12 flats, but part of the roof is caving in and the tenants moved out in September.

Russell Leeds, 29, said the mansion nearly slipped through their hands after they were outbid, but the buyer withdrew and they were offered it the next day.

He said: “We are highly conscious of its history and the importance of preserving the building. It has immense character and we intend to return it to its heyday.

“I love old buildings and love them to stay – I live in a Tudor house myself.”

And 27-year-old Samuel added: “We are looking at several options as to how to best use the available space.

“Two of the flats have 45 square metre sitting rooms. The accommodation really is vast and would suit people who love the country life but also want to be close to urban facilities.”

The estate is first mentioned in an early 11th century Anglo-Saxon charter and in 1074 it was presented to Ralph de Mortimer in recognition of his services to William of Normandy. It remained in the Mortimer family for hundreds of years.

During the Second World War Ribbesford was requisitioned and used by British, American and Free French military.

General de Gaulle visited the house to see French cadets in training in the run-up to D-Day. Bewdley-born Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and his cousin, Rudyard Kipling, were among other notable visitors.

In 1947, Wing Commander Howell and his wife bought the mansion and converted it into private apartments.

Samuel was a self-made millionaire by the age of 21 while Russell himself was financially free by their early 20s. Both made their money through astute property investing.

Remarkably, before this they were professional magicians.

They merged their business interests recently to form the Leeds Group, which includes Property Investors UK, with Samuel as chairman and Russell as CEO.

They also have a lettings agency and a construction company. The latter will carry out the repair and conversion work costing around £750,000. Their HQ is at Hilton Hall near Wolverhampton.