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Style: Jacobean charm
Scene: Devon countryside
Seen in the lobby: Dog-loving country types

SABINE Baring-Gould (1834-1924) looks down at me from his oil painting in the wood panelled lobby of Lewtrenchard Manor with a benign air. His family lived here for generations and their stories are everywhere. The Rev Sabine for example wrote the hymn Onward Christian Soldiers and sired so many children to run around the manor house (15 in all) that at a family gathering he said 'Whose little girl are you?' to one of his own daughters, who promptly burst into tears. 


Lewtrenchard Manor
Lewtrenchard Manor
Lewtrenchard Manor Devon
Lewtrenchard Manor dining
luxury hotel Lewtrenchard Manor
Lewtrenchard Manor luxury
Gates to Lewtrenchard Manor

Stepping inside the 17th century Lewtrenchard Manor is like stepping into a history book, but a book of the very best kind. Full of fables and legends and plenty of scandalous goings on. On this late summer afternoon roses are blooming, butterflies are flitting and creepers curl up the soft grey stone walls.  Yet behind this perfect scene lie tales of ghostly brides, highwaymen, gamblers, murders and illicit love. Oh goodie!

For example Rev Sabin married a lowly miller’s daughter whom he educated. A story which was said to have inspired George Bernard Shaw to write Pygmalion.  His great grandfather Edward was less high minded. A compulsive gambler he once dressed up as highwayman to ambush the man he had just lost to at cards and subsequently shot him. 

Best of all is the story of Henry Gould who bought the manor from its original owner in the mid- 1600s.  His wife Susannah dropped dead in the driveway on her wedding night.  Still in her gown she is said to haunt the drive although the only people in white I see fitting around the garden are a bride-to-be and her rowdy hen party.

If there is a ghost she must be friendly because Lewtrenchard is a welcoming and relaxing pace to be. The house is nestled in a secluded Devon valley beneath Dartmoor’s wild tors, and behind its imposing gates are warm open fires, deep sofas and luxurious country bedrooms.  We stayed in a courtyard suites with rich deep blue wall-paper and views of the geranium-filled courtyard below. One of the joys of Lewtrenchard is that all the rooms are different. On the ground floor of the North wing, St. Clements is a large suite with a four-poster bed. The gallery suites, St. Gertrude and Nonington have wood panelling and the romantic Merrial in the Tower House is the perfect bridal suite.

This prestigious country house hotel, a member of Pride of Britain Hotels, is still family-run so the service is pleasantly personal without being intrusive. Duncan Murray and his parents are hands-on managers and Mrs Murray makes an excellent breakfast muesli so you really do feel like a family friend rather than a mere guest. 
The polished floorboards of this Jacobean Manor creak with history. Every room seems to be an historical gem, especially the incredible long gallery with its rows of leather bound books and remarkable wooden ceiling, the wood-panelled dining room and the bar with its glowing open fire.

Head chef Matthew Peryer sources local produce and herbs and vegetables often come from the hotel’s own walled garden. It doesn’t get much more local than that.  

There is plenty to do just exploring Lewtrenchard’s Walter Sorel designed gardens or strolling down Madame’s walk The craggy tors and wide open expanse of Dartmoor National Park is on the doorstep and the stunning beaches of both North and South Devon are 30 minutes away by car. Or you could visit the Eden project home - the world’s largest greenhouse - or nearby Lydford Gorge.

Check in: Lewtrenchard Manor, Lewdown, Dartmoor National Park EX20 4PN, England 
Key Count: 16 rooms and suites in the main house and adjacent courtyard building.
Most Indulgent Moment: Exclusive use of Lewtrenchard Manor for you and thirty of your best friends. TLTB considers this a bargain at a mere £3000 per night, rising to £3750 in high season
Ultimate Luxury: The gallery suites, St. Gertrude and Nonington, are reminiscent of manor life centuries ago but with all the benefits of 21st century amenities.
Insider Secrets: The Melton room on the first floor has a large four-poster bed, originally belonging to Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I. 
The Little Things: Lewtrenchard Manor is a dog friendly hotel. Four legged friends are welcome to stay with you in your room or suite, the extensive grounds are the perfect place for well-behaved dogs.
Junior Luxies: Not specifically catered for. Lewtrenchard is more about weddings and honeymoons than what comes later. 
Dent in the platinum:

Luxury Hotels Links:www.lewtrenchard.co.uk, www.prideofbritainhotels.com

Luxury Travel LInks: www.visitbritain.com

Hilary Doling 6/3/15
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