If you too have kicked off the year by watching what’s arguably the most disturbing “eat-the-rich” movie we’ve seen in a long time, director Emerald Fennell’s unsettling Saltburn, you’re bound to have plenty of questions left unanswered.
The movie, starring a cast of talented actors like Barry Keoghan (familiar to moviegoers due to standout performances in The Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Batman, and Dunkirk), Jacob Elrodi (Priscilla, The Kissing Booth), and Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl, I Care A Lot) is chockful of disturbing scenes that are even more unsettling due to the talented actors’ stellar acting.
And while we can’t answer many of the questions fans are left with at the end of this hilariously bizarre and wildly disturbing movie, there’s one aspect that we CAN help clarify: is Saltburn a real house? And if so, where can we find it? To top it off, would Oliver’s efforts be worth it? How much is Saltburn worth?
The real Saltburn house & where to find it
Saltburn, the country estate of the Cattons — an aristocratic British family with widespread connections to British high society — stands at the core of Emerald Fennell’s story, taking a life of its own and becoming a central character in the movie (if the title wasn’t a big enough giveaway).
We won’t go into too many details about what happens at Saltburn (or what happens to Saltburn, for that matter), and instead, we’ll focus on the property itself, which is just as grand in real life as its on-screen counterpart.
The Drayton House, a Grade I listed country house in Northamptonshire, England plays the part of Saltburn, the wealthy Catton family’s country estate.
Dating back to the early 13th century, the massive estate has a total of 127 rooms and has been owned by the Stopford Sackville family since the 1770s.
The historic Drayton House
Once described as “Northamptonshire’s most impressive medieval mansion” by German-British art and architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner, the Drayton House is one of the area’s most famous homes.
Which makes it all the more surprising that its owners asked the Saltburn production crew not to disclose the name of the house when promoting the movie. But the cat was quickly let out of the bag, with all British publications quickly spotting the historic property set roughly one mile southwest of the village of Lowick in Northamptonshire.
Over the years, the sprawling estate — which sits in a park of about 200 acres known as Drayton Park — was home to many influential British families, including the Draytons, the Staffords, the Mordaunts, the Germains, all the way to current owners, the Sackvilles, one of which was the 6th Earl of Dorset.
Despite that, the Drayton House has never before appeared on-screen, which was a requirement director Emerald Fennell was adamant about when sourcing the main filming location for Saltburn.
“It needed to be something that hadn’t been used before,” Fennell told House & Garden. “That hadn’t been photographed even, let alone put on film. We always wanted the exact sense that it is a real place.”
And the Drayton House checked all the boxes.
Are Oliver’s efforts worthwhile? How much could Saltburn be worth?
Since we don’t want to spoil the movie for those who haven’t yet had a chance to watch it through, we won’t comment on the fate of the Saltburn house.
But we want to provide context as to how much the stately country house would be worth — and whether the lengths Barry Keoghan’s character, Oliver, goes through to inherit the Catton family’s ancestral home are worth it.
So we turned to Reddit, where the movie started a series of heated discussions on the topic, with people commenting on both the Catton family’s ritzy lifestyle and the value of their estate:
I think the house alone would be worth at least £100m if not more. It’s kind of funny to me that places like Drayton House are still referred to as a country home, whereas really from the size and level of grandeur of this one specifically, it almost feels like it should be classed on the same level as a castle or a palace!
As for their lifestyle – I would imagine that at this level we are talking about the kind of wealth that unless you’re born into it, marry into it, or are Bill Gates or Taylor Swift, is completely unattainable. Probably more than most members of the British royal family?”u/usernamegodmntaken
Very very rich, all generational. They would own massive amounts of land that they can live on forever. Aristocratic wealth dates back 100s of years in the U.K. so I imagine they have hundreds of millions if not more.”u/TheLizardKing
But there were also quite a few people who didn’t think Oliver’s efforts would be worth it, particularly due to how difficult a sprawling estate like Saltburn would be to maintain:
Controversial opinion: I don’t think Oliver’s obsession with Saltburn makes much sense.
Of course his first obsession was with Felix and once he got rejected he turned his attention to stealing the family fortune and essentially trying to become Felix but as a middle class man myself I don’t understand his obsession with Saltburn. Most people know it’s a pain in the ass to own a stately home most people maintain them out of family tradition, it costs a fortune and to offset this cost you often have to open it to the public for visitation. Most middle class people would accept the money from Richard E Grant and live the rest of their life very comfortably.”u/TripleDouble_45 source
In my view he wasn’t obsessed with Saltburn, but rather with taking it as revenge. He wanted desperately to join Felix’s set and belong, and when he was rejected, he set out to destroy the family, with Saltburn as the trophy.”u/Mickleborough
My theory is that the house is a living entity and the house chose Oliver. It pulls him in more and more. The Felix doppelgänger is proof that otherworldly things are at play. Perhaps the house knows its current occupants aren’t deserving. They’re complacent and entitled. Maybe the house wants someone who will work for it. Oliver works. Maybe the house demands sacrifices. Oliver kills.”u/fishinglife777
More historic British estates that made their way onto our screens