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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 January 2008, 19:24 GMT
Aristocrats forced to leave home
Sir Charles Wolseley
The couple were left with debts of 2.5m
An aristocratic family which has owned the same estate for more than 1,000 years has been forced to sell up.

Sir Charles and Lady Wolesley are leaving their ancestral home Park Hill, near Rugeley, Staffordshire, and are moving into rented accomodation.

The couple were declared bankrupt after a business venture went wrong and have accepted benefits to help them out.

Sir Charles, 63, said his only consolation was that he and his wife had done their best to save the estate.

The house, which has already been sold by the bank, was granted to Sir Charles's family by King Edgar in 975AD.

"It is a very sad state of affairs," he said.

"All I can console myself with is that we did our best to save it."

The problems mounted in the 1990s when the couple tried to turn the estate gardens into a tourist attraction.

Their backers eventually pulled out leaving them with debts of 2.5m. At one point they claimed unemployment benefit and pension credits.

"Once you start with bankruptcy it just spirals out of control," Lady Wolseley said.

She added one of the best things about the house was its heritage.

Sir Charles and Lady Wolseley have to give up many of their possessions


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