An investigation is under way to determine the cause of a huge blaze which devastated an 18th century stately home.
The inferno at the National Trust’s Clandon House is believed to have started in the basement before ripping through the building and spreading to the roof.
Around 80 firefighters battled through the night to bring the flames under control at the estate near Guildford in Surrey.
A spokesman for Surrey Fire and Rescue Service said the cause of the blaze is now being investigated. “The full extent of the damage is not known but work is on-going to salvage what can be salvaged from inside,” the spokesman added.
At least one wing of the Grade I listed building has been gutted and the roof was caved in.
Many of the irreplaceable items were damaged or destroyed, with a salvage operation underway to try and save as much as possible.
Staff and volunteers were safely evacuated when the blaze broke out just after 4pm yesterday.
National Trust director Helen Ghosh said: “The most important thing for me is that no one has been hurt in this awful fire and that everyone is safe.
“But it has been heart-breaking to witness the terrible damage to this wonderful mansion, which means so much, to so many people.
“This will come as a terrible shock and a devastating personal blow to all our devoted staff and volunteers.
“We’ll continue to work closely with the fire brigade, who are working hard to bring the blaze under control. We’d like to thank them again for their efforts.”
Thick black smoke could be seen pouring from the building and nearby resident Phoebe Grant said flames were “shooting out of the building”.
Others reportedly heard loud bangs coming from inside.
Clandon Park was built in the 1720s and contains a large collection of 18th century furniture, porcelain and textiles.
It has been managed by the National Trust since 1856 and is a popular venue for weddings.
Some 16 crews were deployed to the scene along with three aerial ladders and three water carriers.