THE man who ran Castle Howard for 30 years has been charged with two counts of historic child sex offences.

65-year-old Simon Howard is due to appear at Scarborough Magistrates Court on Monday (February 15).

A statement to the media issued on behalf of Mr Howard, who stepped down after 30 years in charge of the Ryedale stately home in 2015, said: "Following an initial interview under police caution in July 2018, the Hon Simon Howard of Malton, North Yorkshire, has been charged under the Sexual Offences Act 1956 and is due to appear at Scarborough Magistrates Court on Monday, February 15.

"The Crown Prosecution Service’s charges of indecent assault and incitement to commit an act of gross indecency result from a single alleged incident."

It added: "Simon Howard’s whole family are shocked by these allegations and are fully supportive of SH’s confidence that he is innocent of all charges – which he denies in the strongest possible terms."

A spokesperson for Castle Howard said: "Simon Howard is no longer involved with Castle Howard having stepped down as a director and shareholder five years ago." 

The Netflix Original series Bridgerton was filmed at Castle Howard and nearby Coneysthorpe village among other locations.

Most famous for standing in for Brideshead in two adaptations of Evelyn Waugh’s novel, Brideshead Revisted, Castle Howard is used in Bridgerton to stand in for Clyvedon Castle, the family seat of the Duke of Hastings.