Sevenoaks' Knole House 'needs extensive repairs'

Knole House Knole House is one of England's largest private houses

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A medieval stately home in Kent needs a multimillion-pound facelift to help it remain open to the public, according to the National Trust.

Knole House in Sevenoaks, which is owned by the trust, needs repair work to be carried out on crumbling walls and falling ceilings.

The trust also wants to open new rooms to the public and build a conservation studio.

Before work starts, visitors are being asked how the house could be improved.

The National Trust has launched an online survey to find out which areas of the house people would like to have greater access to.

Emma Slocombe, lead project manager, said: "When planning for the renovation work we realised there may also be many new opportunities available to us, such as opening new spaces and creating new experiences for visitors.

"We are asking the public to help us decide how they would like our plans to develop."

Built on the site of a medieval manor house, in 1456 Knole became the palace of Thomas Bourchier, the then Archbishop of Canterbury.

Set in a 1,000-acre deer park, the palace was extended by subsequent archbishops until Henry VIII forced Archbishop Cranmer to hand it over to him.

In 1604, Thomas Sackville, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth I, became the owner of Knole.

Over 400 years the Sackville family amassed collections of furniture from royal palaces, paintings, textiles and other objects from around the world.

Thomas Sackville's descendants live in the house today, which is one of England's largest private houses.

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