Britain’s great estates pledge trees to help rebuild Notre Dame

  • 17 Apr 2019

British oaks from some of the UK’s most famous estates could contribute towards the rebuilding of Notre Dame cathedral, following an offer from members of Historic Houses, the association for independently owned historic houses and gardens.

So far more than one hundred donor estates, including Belvoir Castle, Hutton-in-the-Forest, Scone Palace, Castle Howard, Holkham Hall, Powderham Castle, and Firle Place (named after the Anglo-Saxon word for ‘oak woodland’), have volunteered valuable trees, planted for timber centuries ago, as a gift from the UK to France for the restoration of the iconic landmark’s roof, destroyed by fire earlier this week.

It’s not the first time Britain’s great houses have rallied round to help with a major heritage restoration project. After the devastating York Minster fire in 1984 more than forty Historic Houses member places pledged eighty oak trees for the reconstruction efforts, joining donations from the Queen and the Prince of Wales.

Given that the construction of the original roof in the twelfth century is estimated to have required 1,300 mature oaks, the donors are well aware that their contribution could only provide a fraction of what’s needed, but they hope the gesture will inspire others.

James Birch, owner of Doddington Hall, one of the estates that has pledged timber, and President of Historic Houses, said, ‘The fire at Notre Dame is a terrible tragedy. It is also a reminder of how our great buildings provide a cultural back drop to everyday life that is often only recognised when they are threatened. Some of our members have first-hand experience of the damage and destruction of catastrophic fires. It’s fitting that we would offer to help restore such an important part of the world’s heritage.’

The trees, from sustainable forestry and already destined for use as commercial timber, are estimated to have a combined market value of well over £100,000. But the donors are keen to emphasise that the timbers used in buildings like Notre Dame are about something that money alone can’t buy.

‘Anyone who lives in an old building knows there’s something special about the way it was built and the materials used,’ said the Duke of Rutland, who first suggested the idea to his fellow members.  

‘The trees in the original roof at Notre Dame probably started growing over a thousand years ago. We’re able to donate replacements because my great-great-grandfather had the foresight to plant trees that would only be valuable long after he died. And in turn we’ll replant every tree we fell – someone will need them for something in another few hundred years. It’s a reminder of how important it is to both look after and renew our heritage resources. In our business you have to plan in centuries, not years.’ 

For further information and images contact James Probert, Director of Marketing & Development, on james.probert@historichouses.org or 020 7259 5688.

 

Houses participating (183 listed)

  • Adlington Hall
  • Allendale Estates
  • Althorp Estate
  • Apethorpe Palace
  • Arley Hall
  • Aswarby Park
  • Ballywalter Park
  • Barkby Estate
  • Baronscourt Estate
  • Barrow Court Estate
  • Belvoir Castle
  • Benington Lordship
  • Berkeley Castle
  • Blair Estate
  • Blenheim Palace
  • Boconnoc
  • Bodrhyddan Hall
  • Bolton Estate
  • Brampton Bryan Castle
  • Brithdir Hall
  • Brocklesby Park
  • Bromesberrow Place
  • Brooke Hall
  • Browsholme Hall
  • Bryngwyn Hall
  • Burton Agnes Hall
  • Cairness House
  • Calmsden Estate
  • Capesthorne Hall
  • Capheaton Hall
  • Cardross Estate
  • Castle Hill
  • Castle Howard
  • Cawdor Castle
  • Cefn Park
  • Château de Missery
  • Chevening House
  • Chillington Hall
  • Chippenham Park
  • Cholmondeley Estate
  • Claydon Estate
  • Colebrooke Park
  • Constable Burton Hall
  • Cotesbach Hall
  • Cottesbroke Hall
  • Cowdray Estate
  • Craster Tower
  • Crom Castle
  • Culver House
  • Dalton Estate
  • Danby Hall
  • Deene Park
  • Dillington Estate
  • Ditchingham Hall
  • Doddershall Park
  • Doddington Hall
  • Dorfold Hall
  • Downham Hall
  • Drayton House
  • Dunvegan Castle
  • Eastnor Castle
  • Elton Hall
  • Everingham Hall
  • Fairlight Hall
  • Fallodon Hall
  • Faulkbourne Hall
  • Firle Place
  • Flete Estate
  • Flintham Hall
  • Forde Abbey
  • Forthampton Court
  • Gabriel's Manor
  • Gaddesden Estate
  • Gayton Estate
  • Glynde Place
  • Golden Grove
  • Gorhambury House
  • Gosford House
  • Great Oakley Hall
  • Gregynog Hall
  • Grey Abbey
  • Grimsthorpe and Drummond Castle Trust
  • Grove House
  • Gyrn and Cerrigllwydion Estate
  • Haddon Hall
  • Haines Hill
  • Hall, Bishop's Tawton
  • Harrowby
  • Hatton Grange
  • Hedingham Castle
  • Henbury Hall
  • Hexton Mannor
  • Hill Court Estate
  • Hodsock Priory
  • Holdenby House
  • Hole Park
  • Holywell Estate
  • Hopetoun House
  • Houghton Hall
  • Hovingham Hall
  • Hutton-in-the-Forest
  • Ingatestone Hall
  • Inverary Castle
  • Inwood Estate
  • Kelmarsh Hall
  • Kenmay House
  • Kingston Russell House
  • Kinnaird Castle
  • Knebworth House
  • Knepp Estate
  • Knowsley Hall
  • Langley Priory
  • Larchfield Estate
  • Leighton Park
  • Levens Hall
  • Lexham Hall
  • Llanover House
  • Longleat House
  • Loseley Park
  • Lowick Hall
  • Madresfield Court
  • Manor Farm Corsley
  • Mapperton
  • Marklye
  • Megginch Castle
  • Monreith House
  • Moray Estates
  • Muncaster Castle
  • Munden House
  • Murthly and Strathbaarn Estates
  • Newby Hall
  • Newick and Sutton Hall Estates
  • Normanton Hall
  • Oakly Park
  • Old Fonthill Abbey
  • Okeover Estate
  • Owlpen Manor
  • Painshill Park
  • Peasmarsh Estate
  • Pentillie Castle
  • Pitchford Hall
  • Plas Cadnant Estate
  • Plasglasgwm
  • Pontypool Park
  • Powderham Castle
  • Purse Caundle Manor
  • Radburne Hall
  • Raynham Hall
  • Renishaw Hall
  • Ripley Castle
  • Rockingham Castle
  • Rode Hall
  • Sandon Hall
  • Sausmarez Manor
  • Scampston Hall
  • Scawby Hall
  • Scone Palace
  • Somerley House
  • Spetchley Park Gardens
  • Stansted Park
  • Stradey Estate
  • Symington House
  • Terling Place
  • The Grange Estate
  • The Holt Estate
  • Thoresby Park
  • Thorpe Malsor Estate
  • Tissington Hall
  • Treberfydd House
  • Tregrehan
  • Treowen
  • Ugbrooke Estate
  • Walsingham Abbey
  • Warnell Estate
  • Welbeck Abbey
  • The Wellington Estate
  • West Dean
  • Whitfield House
  • Willey Park
  • Wintershill Hall
  • Witherslack Estate
  • Woburn Abbey
  • Wolterton Hall
  • Womersley Park
  • Wootton Manor

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