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If you're selling a castle are the fixtures and fittings part of the deal?

Chris Jackson | 15:00 UK time, Monday, 31 January 2011

Historic novellist Philippa Gregory outside Auckland Castle

Philippa Gregory outside Auckland Castle

If you're moving out of your home are you the sort of person who takes all the door handles with you?

Or, are you the type who leaves all the plants in the garden for the next resident to enjoy?

The case of the Zurbaran paintings at Auckland Castle almost boils down to that.

In our programme on Monday, January 31 2011, historic novellist Philippa Gregory looks at the holy row that has developed.

The Church of England is trying to work out what to do with the grand official residences it has in Cumbria and County Durham.

Rose Castle near Dalston will no longer be the home of the Bishop of Carlisle. A more humble abode awaits, but the future of the castle is still undecided and it may yet be sold off.

There is no current Bishop of Durham, so Auckland Castle has no sitting tenant. The building is safe from a sell off, but not its contents.

Jacob - one of the Zurbaran paintings

Jacob - one of the Zurbaran paintings

The unique Zurbaran paintings have been in its care for 250 years and are displayed in the specially built Long Dining Room.

The Church Commissioners are considering sending them to auction where they would raise millions of pounds.

Those who oppose the move say it's tantamount to selling off the family silver.

One tactic, whilst never countenancing the sale of the castle in the first place, is to claim flogging the paintings would jeopardise any future sell-off.

It's argued the 17th century paintings are intrinsic to the castle's very fabric.

Rose castle

Rose castle near Carlisle

In layman's terms they are the fixtures and fittings.

Let us know what you think about the possible sale of Rose castle and auction of the Zurbaran collection.

Just add your comments at the end of this blog.

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