A South Yorkshire MP has welcomed news that the future of a huge stately home - believed to be the largest house in Britain - has been secured in a £7 million deal.
The grade I-listed Wentworth Woodhouse near Rotherham went up for sale in 2015 following the death of owner Clifford Newbold. It has now been bought by the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust.
The £7 million cost has been partly funded by a £3.5 million grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, with the rest of the cash coming from a range of institutional and private donors.
Labour's Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey said he was "delighted" by the move and added: "I'm delighted that the sale is agreed. It’s been a long haul to get to this point. But now the trust can press the accelerator on work to put Wentworth Woodhouse back at the heart of the community and at the heart of South Yorkshire, as it was before."
Described as “exceptional” in both architecture and scale, the house was built by the Marquesses of Rockingham between 1725 and 1750 and it contains 365 rooms and five miles of corridors.
At 180 metres wide, its eastern front is believed to be the longest of any English country house. Behind it is a run of state rooms, centering on a spectacular, double-height marble salon which is considered to be one of the finest early 18th-century interiors in the country.
The building is also said to have been the inspiration for Pemberley in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
The trust now faces a £42 million restoration bill to return it to its former glory over the next two decades.