Lincolnshire estates donate oak for Notre Dame repairs

Two Lincolnshire estates have pledged to offer oak towards rebuilding the Notre Dame cathedral after a devastating fire ripped through the iconic building in Paris.

Members of Historic Houses, the association for independently owned historic houses and gardens, could contribute towards the rebuilding of the 850-year-old cathedral.

Over one hundred donor estates including Doddington Hall in Lincoln and Belvoir Castle in Grantham have volunteered valuable British oak trees planted for timber centuries ago as a gift from the UK to France.

The trees are estimated to have a combined market value of well over £100,000. It will help with the restoration of the roof which was destroyed by fire earlier this week.

Owner of Doddington Hall and President of Historic Houses James Birch said: “The fire at Notre Dame is a terrible tragedy. It is also a reminder of how our great buildings provide a cultural back drop to everyday life that is often only recognised when they are threatened.

“Some of our members have first-hand experience of the damage and destruction of catastrophic fires. It’s fitting that we would offer to help restore such an important part of the world’s heritage.”

The Duke of Rutland who first suggested the idea to his fellow members said: “Anyone who lives in an old building knows there’s something special about the way it was built and the materials used.

“The trees in the original roof at Notre Dame probably started growing over a thousand years ago. We’re able to donate replacements because my great-great-grandfather had the foresight to plant trees that would only be valuable long after he died.

“And in turn we’ll replant every tree we fell – someone will need them for something in another few hundred years. It’s a reminder of how important it is to both look after and renew our heritage resources. In our business you have to plan in centuries, not years.”

It’s not the first time Britain’s great houses have rallied round to help with a major heritage restoration project. After the devastating York Minster fire in 1984 more than forty Historic Houses member places pledged eighty oak trees for the reconstruction efforts, joining donations from the Queen and the Prince of Wales.

As previously reported, the bells at Lincoln Cathedral rang out in solidarity on Tuesday. The passing bell known as ‘Great Tom’ was tolled to show solidarity from one cathedral city to another.