Citizen: Monday, March 5th, 1984 – Advertisement Feature: The New Hatherley Manor Hotel – The county’s newest hotel and banqueting centre is also the oldest! The reason for this strange state of affairs? Hatherley Manor Hotel, which officially opens next week, is a moated manor house with a history back into antiquity. The real age of the building, which has had many changes over the centuries, is unknown. There is stonework in the kitchen known to date back to 1100 and there has definitely been a dwelling on the site for over a thousand years.
Set in 35 rolling acres at Down Hatherley Lane, the hotel – which only a year ago was empty and badly vandalised – has taken on a new lease of life under owners Dave and Julie Stevens. They are a very successful business couple with many interests including residential home parks in Gloucester and Cheltenham and a Rolls Royce wedding hire service. It was in December 1982 that Dave went to an auction at which the old manor house came under the hammer. His bid, was successful and he found himself telephoning Julie to tell her she was a ‘Lady of the Manor’. It sounded exciting but it was not so pleasurable when the couple, with son Philip (11), actually took possession of the manor house in March 1983.
Thieves had stripped lead from the roofs so that water was pouring in. Water was also rising through the flagstone floors. Staircases were so rotten it would have been unsafe to negotiate them with furniture and downstairs the kitchen windows, though barred, had no glass. The weather was far from kind, being both wet and cold and for the first month the family was virtually living in one room downstairs and one up, keeping their clothes in suitcases.
Priority was to put the roof in good repair. This done, other renovation work was quickly under way, the grounds landscaped and a massive car parking area provided. Teams of workmen have been hard at it and the past year has seen a complete transformation. No effort, or money, has been spared to put the manor house in absolutely first class order ready for guests in the 10 bedrooms (one of which is a magnificent bridal room complete with olde-worlde four poster bed).
When Mrs Stevens has more time available she aims to research the full history of the manor house and some of its earlier residents. Son Philip will be of considerable assistance in this as he has already started researching for a school project. The history must be absolutely fascinating because when renovating the original kitchen workmen found a priest hole (large enough to take six men) over the massive fireplace.
Earliest recorded resident of the manor was a Robert Musgrove (1250) who was descended from a family called Wollashill. Later residents included an illegitimate son of Oliver Cromwell and Sir Matthew Wood who was twice Lord Mayor of London in the mid 1800’s. He was a close friend of Queen Caroline.
In more recent times the manor has been used as a home for the mentally retarded, and by the army, as well as a private residence.
It was given a £1 million refurbishment in 2005 by owners MacDonald Hotels and Resorts.