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Imagine a country house built by a furniture magnate at the end of the last century on an estate of 12,000 acres. Neglected after the First World War, degraded by the military in the second, it passed through the hands of several feckless owners who sold off most of its land. Finally, in the 1970s, the house and 200 acres were bought by a famous film producer. From then on a different set of values pertained.