"Hall Barn is very precious to me. We've had to fight long and hard to hold on to it, so it's truly wonderful that we have," reveals author Lucia Lawson, who spent her formative years at the impressive 17th Century estate in Beaconsfield.

Lucia, now 85, has dedicated a chapter to her beloved Buckinghamshire home in her recently published memoir, Of Old I Hold: My Life In A Newspaper Family.

As a member of the Levy Lawson family, who once owned the Daily Telegraph newspaper, and daughter of the 4th Baron and Baroness Burnham of Hall Barn, Lucia enjoyed a privileged upbringing and moved with her parents and two brothers to the estate when she was just eleven.

She recalls with a smile: "I remember being given a large box with all the keys, all different shapes and sizes, and was told to try and unlock all the doors in the house.

"It was an enormous place, and even more so as a child. But of course, it was a great advantage if you wanted to play games like hide and seek - there were just so many places you could go."

Lucia admits the family knew very little about Hall Barn, which was bought by Edward Levy Lawson, the first Baron Burnham, in 1880.

In her later years, Lucia's interest in the family property grew and she became the official archivist of Hall Barn. As such, the first section of her book sparkles with a detailed history and description of the estate, which was originally built by poet Edmund Waller in the later 1600s, as well as her own personal memories which include glamorous weekend parties attended by well-known celebrities of the time.

Lucia, who now lives not far from Hall Barn, recalls: "There were house parties nearly every weekend. My mother was very busy organising these things, but then it was always a house meant for entertaining."

In later chapters, the author reveals other details about Hall Barn's history, including the fact that it was used as a literal safe house to store the Wallace Collection and armoury from the Tower of London during World War Two. She also writes of her distress when the Great Storm of 1987 ravished the landscaped estate and 500 trees were lost overnight.

But perhaps most touching is Lucia's account of the restoration work undertaken at Hall Barn, which continues today.

The memoirs also recall other moments in Lucia's eventful life, including her wartime work with SHAEF (Eisenhower's invasion HQ) and later as secretary of the Richmond Royal Horse Show, as well as the involvement of her family for more than 120 years in the running of the Daily Telegraph.

Lucia adds: "Hall Barn is a really lovely house and an oasis of peace in what can be a very busy world. I've always thought myself quite fortunate having it as my haven."

Of Old I Hold: My Life In A Newspaper Family by Lucia Lawson is published by Ashfield Press. Available in paperback, £17.50 and hardback, £25. Details: www.ashfieldpress.com or 01494 677 788.