A HEADMASTER whose Grade II Listed home was devastated in a fire a month ago has said it is likely to cost millions of pounds to repair.

Martin Priestley, 39, the headmaster of Warminster School since 2006, has had to live in rented accommodation since Byne House, the residential home of the headmaster, in Church Street, went up in flames on Monday July 30.

The fire destroyed large parts of the three-storey home, built in 1755, following an incident in which more than 50 fire fighters from all over the county attended.

Despite this Mr Priestley has said they are looking to the future and aim to restore Byne House to its former glory over the next two years. He said: "It is very sad because it is a wonderful building. The whole of the roof has now gone on one side and there is a lot of smoke, fire and of course water damage. But by far the most important thing is that nobody was injured. It could have been much worse."

Mr Priestley and his wife were away on holiday in Scotland with their three dogs Holly, Twiglet and Paddy when they received a call at 7.30am, the day the fire broke out.

Mr Priestley, who studied politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford University, said: "We were advised to stay put so that they could clear some of the debris and it gave the school the chance to find a suitable place for us to live.

"The level of support and help we have had from the staff and from the parents has just been fantastic."

Standing inside the structure this week it is clear to see the level of devastation caused by the flames, which were reported to have reached 15 to 20 ft high.

There is little sign of life in the damp and burnt out structure of the once-glorious building. But, as Mr Priestley insists, it will be wonderful again. He said: "It was beautiful before; just one of the most lovely properties in the town I would have thought. They'll get it back though.

"Insurance cover is in place so they will get it back to what it was, if not better. Byne House is used a great deal for entertaining parents and for Governors' meetings and so on but the core business of the school itself is entirely unaffected."

Fire crews in Warminster first responded to reports of smoke coming from the building at about 1.45am.

Within minutes, fire crews had to call for assistance reporting flames of between 15 and 20 ft high. Mr Priestley said: "The fire service were brilliant. We have written to them to thank them."

Investigations are still ongoing, however the fire investigation group manager, Ian Rennie, said that the cause of the fire is likely to be accidental.

A flat for other school staff was severely damaged while two people who were in the flat at the time that the fire broke out were able to escape to safety.