13 June 2012
Last updated at 07:09 ET
Chilford Hall said it was “extremely sad” about the incident
Two men have been arrested on suspicion of arson after a wedding venue in Cambridgeshire was destroyed by fire.
Sixty firefighters from three counties were called to Chilford Hall, Linton, from about 03:15 BST.
An 18th Century barn and a network of adjoining rooms have been razed. Crews stopped the fire spreading to a winery and shop.
The men, aged 26 and 27, both from Haverhill, Suffolk, are due to be questioned.
About 45 firefighters were still on site at 08:30 BST, with crews still damping down at 10:30 BST.
No-one was injured.
Simon Alper, from the family which owns Chilford Hall, told BBC Cambridgeshire: “It’s a terrible sight.
“I grew up here, so I’ve known the place and a lot of different aspects of it.
“It’s not something you ever expect to see.
“There are a lot of memories in there – those memories won’t go away but it’s pretty horrid.”
A statement on the Chilford Hall website states: “We are extremely sad to confirm reports of a serious fire at Chilford Hall during the early hours of the morning.
“The fire has affected the Linton Hall barn, gallery, great hall and pavilion.
“We are working on re-establishing our communications system and phone lines as quickly as possible – the events team are contacting clients to inform them of the devastating news.”
Firefighters from three counties worked for several hours to control the fire
Chilford Hall is licensed for wedding ceremonies and hosts receptions for up to 500 guests.
It also has catering facilities for up to 700 people and an 18-acre vineyard, which celebrated 40 years of wine-making last month.
Its pavilion was used for corporate events, including car shows and the annual Tastes of Anglia food fair.
Spokeswoman Laura Hazell said “everyone had been really kind”, with nearby businesses offering their condolences and help.
Abington Hall, in nearby Great Abington, said it was offering “rescue packages” to couples who had booked their wedding with Chilford Hall.
Chilford Hall’s phone lines were working again at about 10:00 BST.