An estate like no other
There is something deeply nostalgic about the stately homes, manicured lawns and country estates of Britain. Once the preserve of royalty and the landed gentry, they offer a unique insight into British history with their rich and sometimes chequered past.
It's believed the story of Tortworth Estate dates as far back as the 11th-century when the original Torteword Manor was recorded in the Domesday Book.
Having passed through a number of family names, in 1620, it was conveyed to Sir Robert Ducie and has remained the ancestral family seat to this day.
In 1848, the then 2nd Earl of Ducie, Henry George Francis Reynolds-Moreton, commissioned Samuel Sanders, a 19th century Gothic Revival architect to design and create the beautiful Tudor style mansion house that still stands today.
Completed in 1853, tree planting also began that year to create the arboretum. Overseen by the 3rd Earl of Ducie, it is said to be one of the horticultural world’s best-kept secrets. With North American oaks standing proudly alongside rare Himalayan species and fine examples of rhododendron, conifer, oak and maple, it is understandably lauded.
With the family in Australia at the outbreak of WW2, the house was commandeered by the British Navy and became HMS Cabbala, a naval training base for coding and signals with the family returning back after the war and still successfully running the estate today.
The Victorian manor house at the heart of the estate, Tortworth Court, was sold in 1991 before becoming a hotel in 2001. Today, the hotel has undergone an extensive multi-million-pound refurbishment project, bringing 21st-century touches to the rich heritage and detailing of the original building.
It's difficult not to think of its rich history as you sweep up the drive to De Vere Tortworth Court. Etched into the building is the wonderful tales of its past from the Doomsday Book days to its latest incarnation - a remarkable and luxurious country estate hotel.