A RUINED Elizabethan manor could become a family home again, 130 years after being gutted in a fire.

The manor house at Hampton Gay, near Bletchingdon, is viewed as one of the most picturesque late-Tudor ruins in Oxfordshire.

But its owner Christopher Buxton has submitted plans to create a 21st century home within the original walls – as a house within a house – at a cost of £600,000.

Mr Buxton has promised Cherwell District Council the new home could be created “without detriment” to the old building’s special character.

Mr Buxton, who bought the property more than 20 years ago, submitted a similar scheme four years ago, but withdrew it after planners recommended refusal.

He said the new plans would ensure essential repair work to walls and stabilise the building.

Mr Buxton, who lives at Kirtlington Park, Kirtlington, said: “Part of the north wall has collapsed, so doing nothing is not an option.

“We have been told by structural engineers that further large areas of collapse will occur in the near future unless prompt remedial measures are implemented.”

He said the front and rear walls would remain largely un- changed, with original stone, now lying in the basement of the house following an earlier collapse, used for repair work.

He said: “When people walk along the public footpaths 100 yards from the house they won’t be able to see any difference. If nothing is done the house will disappear within five years.”

The five-bedroom home would be created inside the old walls within a concrete envelope that would support the original walls.

Two bedrooms would be created in the basement, two on the first floor and one on the ground level. A shallow roof would be built behind the house’s stone parapet, but the eastern wing would stay open as a winter garden.

A light glass and timber screen would be inserted behind the collapsed west bay window, which would be reversible, to help ensure views of the manor house would be largely unaltered.

The building has no electricity supply, so another novel aspect of the application could involve the use of water from the nearby mill stream to generate power.

A planning application has been submitted and is expected to go before councillors on Thursday, May 13.

The manor house, dating from 1580, was built in the classic E-shape to honour Elizabeth I, with a crenellated central porch with carved lintels.

Along with St Giles Church and a farmhouse it is all that remains of Hampton Gay village.

Mr Buxton, whose company Period and Country Houses restores historic houses, first heard about the manor from his old Cambridge University friend, Lord Hurd, the former Foreign Secretary and Witney MP.

Mr Buxton is not the first man to try to redevelop the derelict manor.

In 1975, Jiri Fenton, principal technician at Oxford University’s department of experimental psychology, bought the building.

Born in Czechoslovakia of an English father, he wanted to restore it to thank this country for giving him a home when he fled from the Nazis in 1939.

Ultimately his attempts failed because of “crippling inflation and Government red tape”, according to the Oxford Mail’s archives.

When the building was destroyed in 1887, it belonged to Wadham College, Oxford.

Some claimed the destruction came about because the place had been cursed on Christmas Eve 1874, when the 2pm Paddington to Birkenhead express crashed on the nearby Cherwell Line, which had opened in 1850. They remembered that the inhabitants of the manor had refused to give shelter to the wounded and dying.