Shropshire Star

Shropshire stately home family in oak tree pledge for Notre Dame restoration

Oak grown at one of Shropshire's stately homes could be used in the reconstruction of Notre Dame.

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Offering oak trees to help the reconstruction of Notre Dame, owners Rowena Colthurst, and James Nason, with their children Georgiana Nason, 14, Serena Nason, 8, and Edward Nason, 6, at Pitchford Hall near Shrewsbury

Around 150 stately homes across the UK have pledged to provide oak trees, which can be used to restore the Gothic Paris cathedral after it was ravaged by fire.

One of those homes is Pitchford Hall, near Shrewsbury, which has been restored over recent years by James Nason and his wife Rowena Colthurst, with their three children, Georgiana, Serena, and Edward.

Their offer of timber for the reconstruction came from members of Historic Houses, the association for independently owned historic houses and gardens.

French firefighters at the scene of Monday's fire

More than 100 of the group's members have pledged to help towards the reconstruction effort.

It is 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 40 Historic Houses members pledged 80 oak trees for the reconstruction efforts, joining donations from the Queen and the Prince of Wales.

The construction of Notre Dame's 12th century timber roof is estimated to have required 1,300 mature oaks.


Mr Nason said they had been horrified to see the devastation caused by the fire in the French capital and would be delighted to play a part in helping the restoration effort.

He said: "My wife suddenly said - I think she was looking on Twitter or Instagram - and she said 'James, Notre Dame is on fire'.

The family at Pitchford Hall

"At first it is one of those moments where you think that can't be true, Notre Dame cannot be on fire. And then seeing it develop and seeing the spire topple and your instant reaction is to think, is there anything I can do? I think it is a global reaction to those kind of events and the impact they have."

He added: "I just think it is a brilliant initiative from Historic Houses. To pledge UK trees from across the the country to rebuild Notre Dame just seems to chime with what a lot of us felt when we saw the tragedy on TV."

Mr Nason said the house has two oak plantations and that he would be able to provide a tree to help toward the recreation of one of the world's most famous buildings.