A long-fought legal battle to oust two trustees who mismanaged the Savernake Estate and failed to bring in enough income has been won by the Earl of Cardigan.
Since 2011, the Earl, David Brudenell-Bruce, has been battling in the High Court in London, attempting to get rid of the Estate's two trustees, John Moore and Wilson Cotton - the men responsible for selling Tottenham House for £11m despite the Earl’s protests.
Although Mr Moore was removed in 2014, as the High Court found he had illegally banked £117,000 in self-remuneration, Mr Cotton remained.
However last month Mr Cotton was also removed as a trustee in a deal sanctioned by the High Court, and paid tens of thousands of pounds in compensation, which has been returned to the Estate, for not looking after various Estate properties properly, keeping one empty for over five years.
"I am utterly delighted with this outcome, with Savernake Estate having been in a state of turmoil thanks to them for six years now," he said.
"This has been a total nightmare year after year, for me, my wife and our little three-year-old daughter all still camping in just the only two habitable rooms of our severely-damaged home (Savernake Lodge) where the rain comes through the roof in many places daily.
"Thank heavens the nightmare is finally over."
Now the Earl has appointed some new trustees to end a bumpy few years for his family.
"The removed Trustees helped to organise no less than 15 prosecutions of me in Chippenham Magistrate's Court in the last four years, every single one of them ended either in my acquittal, or the case being thrown out by the Magistrates, with the Court ruling that there was no case to answer, and awarding me all my Defence costs," he said.
"They cut me off from every penny of my own family's money, such that I had to get a job delivering cooking oil to fish & chip shops across the Thames Valley during the night.
"When that job ended I had to queue up every two weeks in the Swindon Unemployment Office. As my wife is a non-EU citizen she is ineligible for Benefit, so I had to support us both on a Single Man's Unemployment Benefit. And much else besides.
"They entered my house in my absence abroad, removed a totally irreplaceable collection of paintings of all my ancestors going back to Queen Jane Seymour in the 1530's, and sold them all off at Sotheby's.”
His legal adviser David Bloom said that the old trustees failed to manage costs well, losing the Estate hundreds of thousands of pounds in income.
Lord Cardigan, who once said he was put on this earth to take care of Savernake Estate, added that he is looking forward to the end of the losses made by the old trustees and putting the Estate back on a more sound financial footing.
Savernake Forest extends to some 4,500 acres, and is the only privately-owned forest in Britain.