It is a majestic castle that would not look out of place as the centrepiece of any glossy TV period drama. However, when an American actor took on the dilapidated Hopwood Hall (nicknamed “Downton Shabby”) as a DIY project, little did he know that he would uncover a centuries-old feud triggered by a grisly longbow murder.

Hopwood DePree’s ancestors used to live at the 15th century grade II* listed building on the outskirts of Manchester, but it has stood derelict since the 1990s. DePree plans to restore the castle to its former beauty, with hopes of making it a country retreat, arts venue and community hub. But as he delved into the historic building’s past, he discovered that his ancestors had been responsible for killing one of their neighbours.

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