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British House to Be Open to Public

June 18, 2002

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LONDON (AP) _ A preservation group has bought one of Britain’s most important Victorian country houses and plans to open it to the public soon, the organization said Tuesday.

The National Trust paid an undisclosed sum for Tyntesfield house, a spectacular 43-bedroom Gothic mansion near Bristol in southwest England which came up for sale after its owner, Lord Wraxall, died last summer.

The 127-year-old mansion has been one of the great secrets of the British countryside because Lord Wraxall, a reclusive bachelor, admitted few visitors. There had been fears that a private buyer would continue his policy of keeping it closed to the public.

Tyntesfield House sits in 2,000 acres of grounds and is considered one of the finest examples of Victorian country architecture in Britain. It is also one of only three Victorian Gothic houses in England to retain its collection of contents intact.

The National Trust said a ``very substantial″ part of the cost was met by a $25 million donation by the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

The National Trust has bought Tyntesfield House, its contents, garden and park, estate buildings such as stables, lodges and gasworks as well as a farm and woodland. It plans to open large parts of the estate to the public.

Lord Wraxall’s will specified that his estate be divided among 19 heirs, but none of them could afford to buy the others out.

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