A HISTORIC house near Malvern which was immortalised in fiction by author Evelyn Waugh has been selected for a new literary trail.

Madresfield Court and its owners are widely thought to be the models for the stately home Brideshead and the Flyte family in Brideshead Revisited, one of Waugh's best-known novels.

Now it has been selected for the Historic Houses Association's new literary trail, which included more than 40 homes across the country linked to famous writers.

Madresfield near Malvern is the home of the Lygon family, whose eldest sons took the title of Earl Beauchamp from 1815 until 1979.

Waugh met Hugh Lygon at Oxford in 1922 and they became close friends. It is thought that Waugh first came to know and love Madresfield Court, when one of Hugh's four sisters, Dorothy, invited him to stay for Christmas in 1931.

Waugh also wrote Black Mischief, his third book, published in 1932, while staying at Madresfield as a guest. It is believed an old nursery was converted into a writing room for him.

The earliest known building on the site was a great hall built in the twelfth century. During the succeeding centuries this was added to, altered and renovated. The biggest changes came in the 19th century when it was rebuilt in Victorian Gothic style.

Peter Hughes of the Madresfield Estate said: "A lot of visitors come to Madresfield because of the Evelyn Waugh connection, more than for any other single reason.

"Waugh never said Brideshead was based on Madresfield, but there are certainly a lot of similarities."

Ben Cowell, director of the Historic Houses Association, said: "It’s no surprise that so many Historic Houses Association Member houses have links to literary heroes of the past. Visiting these special places helps to preserve them for future generations."

Guided tours of Madresfield Court take place between March and September, but must be booked in advance.