After years of painstaking and expensive renovation a manor house dating as far back as the 17th century is open for business.
Thorpe Manor in Thorpe Mandeville has been brought back to life by Henry and Natasha Teare after Henry took over the running of the family home in 2013.
Henry said: “The house was in such a poor state of repair, it was extraordinary. The entire estate was in a similar position.”
One incident in particular gave the couple the impetus to begin detailed and costly renovations to the entire building.
Henry said: “Back in the day they had these big rams at the bottom of the valley which would ram the water up and get stored in these huge containers up in the roof made from galvanised steel.
“After a period of time they fail, and they decided to fail. One evening, at about 2am in the morning, the fire alarm goes off. I couldn’t smell any smoke, walked around and didn’t see anything.
“I go into the kitchen and, if you have ever seen the Shining, the scene in the elevator with all the blood, it was like that but with water.
“About 2000 gallons had come right through into the kitchen, the ceiling had collapsed, floors had collapsed, it was an absolute disaster.”
Over the course of the next three years the Grade II listed Georgian manor, built in three stages between in 1650 and the 1920s, was modernised and renovated from the inside out.
The electrics and plumbing were replaced, all windows were removed and either replaced or resealed into the building and the vast majority of the roof has been repaired and re-tiled.
Natasha said: “We were going to do it piecemeal but we quickly learned that that was going to be totally counterproductive and money down the drain, so we decided to do the whole thing.”
After the leak caused the need for extensive repairs, the repairs, in turn, led to Thorpe Manor being run as a destination venue as Natasha explains: “The only way forward was to find a way to borrow the money and repay it with a business which would justify the works.
“The work has all been done but we’re repaying what we’ve borrowed by running it as a venue, for weddings, corporate events, whatever people want a big house for but we are doing it in a more luxury, high end way.
“It looks like an old house but it runs like any modern hotel would, we have WiFi.”
Luxury and high end are the first words that come to mind when visiting the manor. From its large, welcoming gates and light pebble drive way to the modestly furnished reception room through to it’s huge country farm house styled kitchen and intimate snug, the house oozes history without feeling dated.
The mod cons include WIFi, a pool room and an in house cinema room. Upstairs there are 14 en suite bedrooms, the master bedroom boasting a 100 year old bath with views of the never ending garden.
It is the first time the couple have run a stately home as a destination and events enterprise but they bring to the table transferable skills from their previous careers; Natasha as a marketing specialist with Christies Auction House and Henry as Cotswold estate agent.
The couple are also aware of the traditional role such grand edifices play in village life and will showcase the grounds on March 21 as part of the Katharine House Hospice’s Festival of Open Gardens.
Natasha said: “We would like to do what these houses were once used more for, being part of the community and supporting good local causes.
“Henry’s aunt was looked after by Katharine House about two years ago and there are a lot of links in the local area.
“It’s the first spring we will be open so we’re putting a marquee up on the second lawn and we’ll have 50 stall holders, it’s a shopping fair. It will be a really really nice event.”
Entrance to the 11am to 4pm event will cost £7.50, which will go to the hospice. Tickets can be purchased on the gate or by visiting Eventbrite.
Katharine House fundraising manager, Cherida Plumb, said: “The Spring Fair at Thorpe Manor will be the first event in 2019 that will be part of Katharine House Hospice’s Festival of Open Gardens.
“The Festival of Open Gardens gives visitors access to fabulous private gardens and raises money to support people facing life-limiting illness in our community.
“The individual gardens raise money by charging admissions to these fabulous havens of tranquillity, wildlife and colour, and through providing refreshments. Thanks to the generosity of garden owners and visitors over £50,000 has been raised to date. We are now looking for this year’s ‘garden proud’ supporters.”
To learn more about Thorpe Manor visit their website.