St Giles House in Dorset, the ancestral seat of the Earls of Shaftesbury, has been announced as the winner of the 2015 Historic Houses Association (HHA) & Sotheby’s Restoration Award. The house, which has remained in the family since the 14th-century, had been left abandoned and derelict for over 50 years.
It has now been transformed through a truly remarkable restoration project undertaken by the 12th Earl and Countess of Shaftsbury over the past four and a half years. Lord Shaftesbury inherited the house and estate in 2005, aged only 25, following the tragic death of his father and, only a few months later, of his elder brother. With the help of grants from Natural England and the Country House Foundation, the grounds and grand interiors of St Giles House have now been returned to their former glory.
Lord Shaftesbury said: “It is a huge honour to receive this award after four and a half years of hard work. It’s amazing now to look back at the project and think where we’ve come – it’s safe to say we’ve achieved far more than any of us imagined possible. Hopefully it will inspire others to do the same.”