If the walls could speak, what a story would unfold.
The Combe Grove Manor has a long, interesting history, and below are some of the key facts. If you have any stories or anecdotes from the past relating to Combe Grove, please get in touch. We very much want to develop a broader account of the house over the years and feel sure there are more great stories to uncover.
“Combe Grove Manor – a grade two listed country house with 76 acres of land overlooking the Limpley Stoke Valley and Westbury White Horse beyond”
The first mention of a dwelling on the current site comes from 1698 when it was reportedly owned “by a merchant from Grave’s End”.
In 1706 it came to be occupied by a local family with roots in the village dating back to the 1500s.
Over the years various renovations and additions were made, including the planting of the grove of fir trees that gave the house the name Combe Grove.
From 1748-1790 the famous Methodist preacher, John Wesley, became a regular visitor and preached from the balcony to small congregations on the lawns below.
The house endured many owners, purchased in 1810 by the Vaughan-Jenkins family who kept it in the family until 1968. The house was mostly let to tenants over the years, including one Audrey Easter, who turned it into a hotel and series of private unfurnished apartments for ‘ladies and gentlemen who declined housekeeping’.
The imposing entrance from Brassknocker Hill was guarded by one of the finest examples of wrought iron work ever made. The gates were shown at the Great Exhibition of London in 1851, costing the princely sum of £300.
Among the celebrated permanent guests were the actor and composer Ivor Novello & his mother. Rex Harrison and his wife Kay Kendall had an apartment using their own furniture too.
The health club began in the early 1970s and was called Cannon’s; the legendary Australian athlete Ron Clarke was manager.
In March 2017, Combe Grove was purchased by The Elmhurst Foundation, a charity with the vision to transform Combe Grove into a centre for work-based learning excellence, creating a range of high quality, enhanced apprenticeships. Our team of apprentices will help us to grow into a centre for holistic wellness, making the very most of the hotel’s tranquil woodland setting and outstanding natural views.