DORSET – The 12th Earl of Shaftesbury may not immediately fit the Downton Abbey cliché of the aristocracy, but he does some of the trappings – not least having the responsibility of caring for a major country house and estate.

Five years ago, Nick Ashley-Cooper inherited St Giles House in Dorset under dramatic and tragic circumstances. The Earl and his wife, Dinha set about restoring the glory of one Britain’s great estates after 50 years of abandonment. In recognition of their achievement they have received the prestigious Historic Houses Association & Sotheby’s Restoration Award 2015. See the restoration in progress and tour the newly completed house here.

PHOTOGRAPH ABOVE: St Giles House from Great Avenue. Copyright Philip Hughes.