A French baron has bought a Jacobean manor near Oundle that was restored at a cost of £8m after being left to decay.
Apethorpe Hall, near Oundle, has been bought by Jean Christophe Iseux, Baron von Pfetten, for £2.5m.
The baron, a French professor and diplomat, has just finished restoring a 17th century chateau in France and said that he wanted Apethorpe Hall to “regain the place in British history it deserves”.
The hall was originally built in 1470-80 and was a favourite of King James I. After a succession of owners it became the property of Libyan Wanis Mohammed Burweila. He left the country after the Libyan Embassy siege in 1984 and the hall was left to decay before being sold to developers in 2002. Their plans for Apethorpe were not approved by the government and it compulsory purchased the hall in 2004 for £3.5m.
English Heritage then spent £8m repairing the hall.
As part of the deal with Baron von Pfetten, the hall will be open to the public for 50 days a year for the next 80 years. English Heritage will organise the public openings.