Fire crews have spent most of the night battling a blaze which ripped through an Edwardian mansion.

The fire broke out at Scalesceugh Hall, at Carleton near Carlisle, at just before 11pm.

Multiple firefighters from across the north of the county turned out to tackle the flames, including seven engines, an aerial ladder platform, a water bowser, unimog (multi-purpose vehicle) and joint incident command unit.

The building was well-alight when they arrived.

The incident was finally brought under control by about 6am, but fire crews remain at the scene.

Stuart Hook, incident commander/station manager, said: "Initially we mobilised two fire engines from Carlisle, but as we arrived we saw that the fire was going through the roof.

"We saw it was a well-developed fire on arrival. At that point we had people missing and our priority was search and rescue.

"It soon became apparent that everyone was accounted for, and by that point we had got about eight appliances out."

The main part of the listed building is understood to have been destroyed, but the efforts of firefighters prevented the flames spreading to any of the other buildings on site.

Mr Hook added: "Our initial problem was water. We’ve had to use vehicles to ferry water - we had a water relay set up., and we had to use our water bowser which carries 7,000 litres and our wildfire unit which carries about 4,000 litres."

Smoke is still visible above the site, with crews still working to extinguish any hot spots.

Owner Bruno Herdeiro is at the site, but said he is currently too shell-shocked to speak.

He and his wife Anita are developing 13 luxury homes for over-55s on the site, including a wellness centre. It won the in-Cumbria 2018 Best New Business Award and earlier this year, Mr Herdeiro said: “Scalesceugh is all about creating the most aspirational place to live in Cumbria."

Residents at the retirement estate were left shaken by the blaze, some having been evacuated by firefighters in the middle of the night as the blaze threatened to engulf their homes.

One elderly resident said she had not slept at all last night amid all the commotion and drama of the fire.

As the last embers were still being doused by firefighters this morning, construction staff looked on as their major renovation project was left a smouldering wreck.

The roof having collapsed in the night, only the stone walls remain, cloaked in steam from the thousands of gallons of water still being pumped onto the wreckage by the fire service.

The mood from owners Bruno and Dr Anita Herdeiro was one of shock, but they are determined not to be defeated by the blaze.

They spoke briefly about the amount of hard work and dedication they had devoted to the renovation project, and how they are determined not to let last night’s drama stop them from realising their vision.