THE National Trust are opening a new exhibition on a 'great lost building' in southern Oxfordshire, which they plan to restore.

Parkland on Coleshill House, near Faringdon, will undergo restoration work next year.

Built in the 1650s, 'one of England's finest 17th century houses' stood for 300 years, before a fire in 1952 - when a painter’s blowtorch set light to one of its window frames.

Four years later, the estate was bequeathed to the National Trust.

Many of the archives survived because they were stored in the stables. They are are now available in a new exhibition, after a grant from the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust allowed the Record Office to repair and repackage much of the collection.

The ‘Perfect Specimen’ exhibition opens at the Berkshire Record Office, in Reading, on Wednesday – with a focus on the 3rd Earl of Radnor, who lived there for 70 years.

In between his 40 years in Parliament he rebuilt the estate farm twice, remodelled the gardens and provided cottages for the workers he employed.

The building became part of Oxfordshire when the county boundary was changed in 1974.

National Trust's General Manager West Oxfordshire, Christian Walker, said: "It’s fantastic to see this magnificent lost house find its place in memory once again. We’re delighted that the research produced will be used to inform the conservation and restoration [which] will enable the public to appreciate the landscape Radnor adored.”