Lightning hits earl's home

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 December, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 December, 1998, 12:00am

The Cape Town home of the Princess of Wales' brother, Charles Spencer, has been ravaged by fire.

His four young children were rescued unhurt from the blaze.

According to Spencer's neighbours in the plush suburb of Upper Constantia, a lightning bolt hit the thatched roof of the house, Tarrystone.

Spencer was reportedly in Cape Town when the fire broke out, but refused to speak to the media and barred them from the property.

The earl paid some five million rand (HK$6.5 million) for the mansion in 1996 when he settled in Cape Town with his wife Victoria and their children.

The couple have since divorced and Spencer earlier this year tried to sell the house.

A property advertisement in a local newspaper described it as having the 'elegance of a bygone era', four 'beautifully appointed' bedrooms, a wine cellar, two stables, a private pool and a 'park-like' landscaped garden set on 8,000 square metres.