Somerset

Wordsworth's Alfoxton Park home bought by Buddhist charity

Alfoxton Park Hotel Image copyright Christie & Co
Image caption Wordsworth's former home was most recently used as a hotel and is in need of substantial renovations

A former home of romantic poet William Wordsworth has been "saved" after a Buddhist charity bought it for £1.4m.

Alfoxton Park Hotel, in Holford, Somerset, was home to the writer and his sister Dorothy for a year in 1797.

The country house - which appears on Historic England's at-risk register - is where Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge created their joint masterpiece Lyrical Ballads.

It will be renovated and reopened as a base for Buddhist meditation retreats.

Dharmachari Lokabandhu, trustee of charity the Alfoxton Park Trust, said: "We are delighted to have been entrusted with the guardianship of this beautiful and historic building.

"We are very aware of its importance and place in Britain's literary heritage and fully intend to honour that going forwards.

"Once the building has been restored to at least something of its former glory, we'd love to welcome poets, pilgrims and lovers of nature - many of whom already pass by as they walk the Coleridge Way, which runs right past our back door."

The building, once used as a hotel, had fallen into disrepair.

In 2010, West Somerset Council issued an enforcement notice ordering a property developer to stop housing Polish workers in the "run-down" property.

Image copyright Christie & Co
Image caption Built in the 18th Century, the Grade II listed building has been empty for years

According Adam Nicolson's book, The Making of Poetry: Coleridge, the Wordsworths and Their Year of Marvels, the original house, The Manor of Alfoxton, was destroyed in a fire but was rebuilt in 1710.

The estate was the scene of the first reading of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner and housed American troops during World War Two.

Stephen Champion, director at property experts Christie & Co, said: "We are delighted to see the building saved by its new owners, who plan to restore the property.”

It is hoped the main building will be open for retreats from August 2021.

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