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 following the tragic death of his father and, only a few months later, of his elder brother. Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury (1621-1683), a founder of the Whig party, built the nucleus of St Giles House recalling in a diary entry dated 19th March 1650: ‘I laid the first stone of my house at St Giles’s”. The estate continued to be developed over successive generations, including

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