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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 February, 2005, 18:49 GMT
Millions to restore fire hit home
Dr Gerald Rolph, owner of Allerton Castle
Dr Gerald Rolph spent 22 years refurbishing the castle
The bill to restore a North Yorkshire stately home ravaged by fire last month could run into millions of pounds, its owner has revealed.

Almost one third of Allerton Castle, near Knaresborough, was seriously damaged in the blaze on 22 January.

On Wednesday, American businessman Dr Gerald Rolph, who bought the property in 1983, vowed to get the house running as soon as possible.

He hopes it will reopen by March with weddings to be held within weeks.

The fire is thought to have started in the 19th Century building's chimney and quickly spread to the roof and upper floors.

At the height of the blaze more than 100 firefighters tackled the flames.

The castle's dining room, which Dr Rolph described as "probably the finest carved wood room outside the Houses of Parliament" was destroyed.

Allerton Castle on fire
Firefighters spent two days putting out the blaze

The library also suffered severe water damage.

Dr Rolph said: "The bill will run into millions of pounds, but the castle will hopefully look as good as ever at the end of it."

He added the internal layout of the castle, which is thought to have inspired the rhyme The Grand Old Duke of York, will undergo changes.

The service wing and chapel, which were gutted in the fire, will be renovated and used as office and residential spaces, while the courtyard will be fully restored.

Dr Rolph said the fire was "heartbreaking" but he was concentrating on the future.

"There's no point in crying over spilt milk. In many ways we've been quite lucky," he said.

The house was the ancestral home of Baron Stourton, but the family moved out in the 1960s.

It is used as a private residence as well as being hired out for weddings and conferences.

Police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the fire.

Rebuilding plans set for castle
09 Feb 05 |  North Yorkshire
Brides 'can help' fire-hit castle
26 Jan 05 |  North Yorkshire
Stately home 'to rise from ashes'
23 Jan 05 |  North Yorkshire
Crews remain at stately home fire
23 Jan 05 |  North Yorkshire
Stately home fire 'still burning'
22 Jan 05 |  North Yorkshire
Fire 'almost wrecks' stately home
22 Jan 05 |  North Yorkshire

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