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Cathedral of Notre Dame

Britain’s historic house owners pledge ancient trees for Notre Dame rebuilding

The cathedral’s roof, wholly destroyed in the fire, was built of some 1300 great trees

Scone Palace in Scotland is one of the historic houses to have pledged trees for the rebuild flickr/AaronBradley

The owners of some of Britain’s most famous historic houses, all members of the Historic Houses association, have offered very old trees from their estates as their contribution, if required, to the rebuilding of the roof of Notre Dame. It is estimated that 1300 trees were used during its 12th- to 14th-century building campaign.

So far more than 100 estates, including Belvoir Castle, Doddington Hall, Hutton-in-the-Forest, Scone Palace, Castle Howard, Holkham Hall, Powderham Castle, and Firle Place have offered trees planted centuries ago. While these will not have reached the size of the medieval trees, which came from primal forests, they are much larger than those available from ordinary commercial forestry plantings.

The proposal was made by the Duke of Rutland, of Belvoir Castle, “We’re able to donate replacements because my ancestor 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.”

After York Minster burnt in 1984, 40 historic houses pledged their trees for its rebuilding, together with donations from The Queen and the Prince of Wales.

• Read more of our coverage on the fire of Notre Dame here