A 17TH century farmhouse that was renovated with the help of English Heritage grants has been removed from the organisation’s at-risk register.

Middridge Grange, a Grade II*-listed building in Heighington, near Darlington, was identified as a building of key importance to the region by English Heritage in 1998.

After eight years of work which included repairs to make it watertight and improvements to the roof, doors, floors and windows, the building has been hailed a success and removed from the at-risk register.

Owned by farmer Edward Scott, 36, and his family, Middridge Grange has a colourful history and was once the home of Colonel Anthony Byerley, who commanded a regiment known as Byerley’s Bulldogs, who fought for King Charles I.

It is thought that Byerley may have sheltered the embattled king at Middridge during the Civil War.

Another famous guest was the Byerley Turk, the first Arab horse in Britain, from which, along with two others, all British racing bloodstock is descended.

The horse was retired to stud at Middridge, having been the military mount of Byerley’s son, Robert.

Carol Pyrah, English Heritage planning director for the North-East, said: “Middridge Grange farmhouse is one of the most historically important buildings in the North-East, which is why English Heritage offered £288,000 to secure its future.”