A Grade II-listed manor house has suffered significant damage after the roof went up in flames during renovation works.

More than 60 firefighters battled the fire at Chalmington Manor, between Dorchester and Yeovil, which broke out in the roof shortly after 10.30am yesterday.

Two crews from Dorchester, Yeovil and Bridport, plus crews from Maiden Newton, Beaminster, Crewkerne and Weymouth, rushed to the scene, along with the aerial ladder platform and a water carrier from Yeovil, a water carrier from Bridport and support appliances from Sherborne, Hamworthy and Yeovil.

At the height of the blaze, 12 fire engines were at the scene and water from a nearby lake was used to help put out the flames.

Nobody was inside the property and there were no reported injuries.

Police, paramedics, representatives of the electricity board and local landowners also joined the effort.

Police were called by the fire service to assist with traffic management, and officers put road closures in place.

The fire service subsequently put signage in place and officers were stood down.

A spokesman for Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service (DWFRS) said the building suffered significant damage to the roof and much of the second floor, but the ground and first floors have been saved.

Firefighters remained on scene until the evening to damp down and check for hot spots, scaling back to crews from Beaminster, Yeovil, Bridport, Bere Regis, Lyme Regis, Sherborne, Sturminster Newton and Portland.

An initial fire investigation concluded that the fire was started by accidental ignition during renovation works, according to the fire service.

The house is owned by Andrew Nicholas, who submitted a planning application in June 2018 for internal and external works to create four apartments and manor house with ancillary accommodation; a new kitchen and dining area to replace a fire-damaged section of the building and the conversion of stables to create covered parking bays.

These plans were approved in 2019.

Prior to being purchased by Mr Nicholas, the building was vacant for several years and was owned by Brian Woodford, a wealthy Dorset businessman who was wanted by US authorities for allegedly smuggling military parts to Iran.

He went into hiding and was never found but was charged in absentia.

The Nicholas family did not wish to comment on the fire.