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Apethorpe Palace: The Ultimate Country House Rescue

Apethorpe Palace is one of England's foremost country houses, with a strong royal pedigree. It was saved from decay between 2004 and 2014, and is now secure in the hands of a new owner. This rescue forms an important chapter in the long and illustrious history of the house, chronicled in a new book. Its publication marks the culmination of one of Historic England's most ambitious projects to date.

New book documents Apethorpe's history and rescue

Apethorpe: The story of an English country house is written by Historic England staff involved in the rescue. It reveals how the house grew and evolved as a home of courtiers, politicians and aristocrats from the mid-15th century, and how it became a favoured haunt of several English monarchs. In the second half of the 20th century the condition of the building deteriorated to such an extent that, in 1998, it was declared a Building at Risk.

Occasionally, when heritage of the highest national importance is under threat and there is no-one else to step in, Historic England is the only public body that can act to save it. Apethorpe has been just such a case.

The book presents what the authors discovered about the history, materials, layout and decoration of the house, to inform the ambitious programme of repair. The opportunity was even taken to find new ways to produce traditional Collyweston roofing stone, the extraction of which had virtually dried up.

Exposed roof timbers at Apethorpe Palace
The roof timbers at Apethorpe Palace, exposed during repairs in 2007

Open to the public 50 days per year

The new owner of Apethorpe Palace is committed to the full restoration of the property. The house is open for pre-arranged tours on 50 days a year, and these can be booked through English Heritage, the charity now arranging access on our behalf.

The photograph below shows the roof timbers, exposed during repairs in 2007. It has been uploaded to the list entry for Apethorpe Palace by Paul Adams as part of Historic England's Enriching the List scheme.

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