A BUILDING used as a grain store for more than 200 years has been transformed into a library containing 5,000 books.

The Great Hall, at Markenfield Hall, near Ripon, was built in 1280.

It became empty in 1569, when the Markenfield family were executed or exiled for life following the Rising of the North.

For the past 200 years, it has been used by the estate's farmers to store grain.

Work to transform the hall started three years ago and the library, complete with 12ft 6in oak bookstacks, has now been finished.

It will house the Markenfield Hall archives and 5,000 books belonging to dramatist and playwright Ian Curteis, who lives at the hall with his wife, Lady Deirdre Curteis.

He said the restoration was a dream come true. "During the last two winters and spring of this year, a team of brilliant Yorkshire-based craftsmen have been hard at work, transforming a once empty space," he said.

"It is truly heartening to find that Yorkshire's great craftsmen are still fully capable of creating a library worthy of the 700-year-old, 30ft high Great Hall."

Markenfield Hall will open for the second time this year from Sunday, until July 1 from 2pm to 5pm.