A STATELY home badly damaged by fire at the weekend will be restored to its former glory, says the building's millionaire owner.

About a third of Allerton Castle, near Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, was destroyed in the blaze early on Saturday.

More than 80 firefighters battled to contain the fire after being called out shortly before 2am.

Ten guests at the 18th Century Grade-I listed building escaped unhurt.

North Yorkshire deputy chief fire officer Nigel Hutchinson said there was severe fire damage to the roof and upper floors of the two-storey building.

He said: "Most of the structure, apart from a large section of the roof, appears to be intact.

"The walls look okay and there's no falling masonry.

"Most of the damage has occurred at the back of the building on the ground and first floor."

A police spokesman the blaze had been caused by a chimney fire and there were no suspicious circumstances.

US millionaire Dr Gerald Rolph, who bought the ancestral home of Baron Stourton in 1983, described the fire as "a tragedy for English and world heritage".

He said: "The fire service did a wonderful job - now the job is try and restore it to its former glory.

"The biggest loss is the dining room, which is probably the finest carved wood room outside the Houses of Parliament.

"It is totally gone with its stained glass windows, which is a tragic loss to English and world heritage."

The state bedroom, conservatory and library have all been damaged by fire.

Other main rooms, including the great hall and great staircase, are intact, although they have suffered smoke and water damage.

The hall's huge handmade Persian carpet was rescued by firefighters after a request by the owner.

As well as being a private home, the castle is also a venue for weddings and corporate hospitalities.

A spokesman for Allerton Castle said yesterday much of the damage was confined to the private apartments, workshops and offices.

He said it was hoped to have other areas of the property "up and running" as soon as possible.

During the blaze, fire crews took water from a lake within the grounds because of a shortage of mains water in the remote location.

Fire crews remained at the scene yesterday monitoring the ashes for hot-spots.