Four historic estates in Clarke County have been sold within the past year to out-of-state or foreign owners. Not only does the $5.1 million, 2,000-acre total sale represent 18 percent of the county's acreage, as the Winchester Evening Star pointed out, but also part of Virginia's heritage.

There are no plans to demolish any of the stately, white-columned manor houses or to erect condominiums on their spacious grounds. Instead, two of the four will be retained as horse farms by their new German owners. A third will become the headquarters of a health foundation, while plans for the fourth are incomplete.

The estates are Audley, 893 acres located near Berryville; and Carter Hall, 700 acres; Locksley, 453 acres, and Long Branch, all situated near Millwood.

Audley was sold in early March for $2 million by James Edwards to Hubertus Liebrecht. He is the major stockholder and president of C. H. Boehringer, Inc., a multinational health care and pharmaceutical services firm. Boehringer bought Audley through its subsidiary, AF, Inc. Liebrecht, who owns a thoroughbred farm in Munich, intends to continue Audley as a national thoroughbred breeding ground.

Locksley was also purchased by Germans, Emil and Ann-Nicola Jung. Owner William West, Jr. received $1.3 million for two tracts of land on which the Jungs intend to breed Holsteiners. This breed of horse is used in two- and four-horse carriage competition, a sport in which they excel in Europe.

Next to Locksley stands Carter Hall, sold for $850,000 by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Farland to Project Hope. Project Hope purchased only 76.5 out of Carter Hall's 700 acres, although it has an option to purchase an additional 130. The foundation plans to spend $4 million renovating the manor to use for international symposiums, a scholar-in-residence and language refresher programs.

Finally, Long Branch was sold to two Los Angeles doctors, Luigi Gentile and Charles Hutter, for $950,000. The actual sale took place four years earlier but the pair tried to back out of the deal. The owners, Mr. and Mrs. Abram Hewitt, took them to court and the sale was upheld. The parties have not yet gone to settlement because the doctors have not been able to complete their financing arrangements.