A ruined Elizabethan manor could again become a family home 130 years after being gutted in a fire.

The manor house at Hampton Gay is viewed as one of the most picturesque late-Tudor ruins in Oxfordshire.

But its owner Christopher Buxton has submitted plans to create a 21st-century home within the original walls of the historic manor, as a house within a house.

Mr Buxton warned that the alternative to his plan was likely to be the loss of the manor house, dating from 1580, because it was now in such poor condition, having repeatedly come under attack from vandals.

And he has told Cherwell District Council that the new home could be created “without detriment” to the old building’s character.

Mr Buxton, who bought the property more than 20 years ago, submitted a similar scheme four years ago, but withdrew it after planners recommended refusal.

He says English Heritage and conservationists are now more sympathetic to the idea of restoring old buildings to their original use.

He said the work would ensure essential repair work to walls and to stabilise the building.

Mr Buxton, who lives in nearby Kirtlington Park, said: “Part of the north wall has collapsed, so doing nothing is not an option.

“We have been told by structural engineers that further large areas of collapse will occur in the near future unless prompt remedial measures are implemented.”

He said the front and rear walls would remain largely unchanged, with original stone, now lying in the basement of the house following an earlier collapse, used for repair work “When people walk along the public footpaths 100 yards from the house they won’t be able to see any difference, whereas if nothing is done, the house will disappear within five years.”

The new five-bedroom home would be created inside the old walls within a concrete envelope that would support the original walls.

The total cost of the work would be about £600,000.

The building has no electricity supply. So, another novel aspect of the application could involve the use of water from the nearby river to generate power.

The restoration of the mill pond and weir are now being discussed with the Environment Agency, with the idea of a micro hydro-electric scheme being assessed to provide a source of renewable energy.

A planning application has been submitted to Cherwell District Council and is expected to go before councillors on Thursday, May 13.

Mr Buxton, whose company Period and Country Houses restores historic houses, first heard about the Manor from his old Cambridge University friend, Lord Hurd, the former Foreign Secretary and Witney MP.

When the building was destroyed by fire in 1887 it was the property of Wadham College, Oxford.

Some imaginative souls said that the destruction came about because the place had been cursed on Christmas Eve, 1874, when the 2pm Paddington-to-Birkenhead express crashed on the nearby Cherwell Line.

They remembered how on that occasion the inhabitants of the manor had refused to give shelter to the wounded and dying.