Dorset

Parnham House fire: Arrest over suspected arson attack

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Media captionThe stately home was left badly damaged by the fire

A man has been arrested after a 16th Century stately home was severely damaged by fire.

Fire crews were called to Grade I-listed Parnham House in Beaminster, Dorset, at about 04:10 BST on Saturday.

It is not believed anyone was inside the property at the time of the blaze.

A 68-year-old man, from Beaminster, has been arrested on suspicion of arson and is assisting officers with their inquiries, Dorset Police said.

The force, which previously described the blaze as "suspicious", said the house was likely to be cordoned off for some time to allow investigators to examine the scene.

Image copyright John Gurd
Image caption Emergency services were alerted in the early hours of Saturday

Parnham House was described as "architecturally brilliant" in a 2009 Dorset Life article.

It was home to the Strode family, prominent aristocrats, for about 200 years.

It was later used as a country club and nursing home. In 2001 it was refurbished by a private owner.

Much of the current design was created in 1810 by John Nash, an architect who worked on the 19th Century enlargement of Buckingham Palace.

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