A BRIDEGROOM from Liverpool appeared in court yesterday charged with suspected arson attack on a picturesque country house hotel.
Fire broke out in a wing of Peckforton Castle, near Tarporley, at about 5am on Sunday
Police charged Max Kay, 36, from Hunts Cross, with arson with intent to endanger life and arson reckless as to whether life is endangered.
Kay was remanded in custody last night and was due to appear at South Cheshire Magistrates Court, Crewe.
More than 100 firefighters tackled the blaze at the Grade I listed property.
The 19th-century country house, built in the style of a castle, is used as a hotel and venue for weddings and conferences.
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service said all staff and about 70 guests at the hotel were safely evacuated.
Dozens of couples were left in doubt as to whether their fairytale weddings would go ahead.
Hotel owners reassured brides-to-be they would go ahead as planned.
The Naylor family, who have owned Peckforton Castle for the past five years, said the blaze which ripped through the building had only damaged a quarter of the guest rooms, leaving the rest intact.
A wedding which was scheduled to take place at the castle on Sunday went ahead despite the fire, which started in one of the wings.
A couple getting married this Friday were told their ceremony can go ahead and a party is taking place tonight at the venue to celebrate five years of being in business.
It is thought the owners were left with a bill of up to £1m to repair damage to the popular venue.
A spokesman for Peckforton Castle said: “We can confirm that less than a quarter of available accommodation has been affected and we are already operational again.”