The History Behind Lords of the Manor
Our decadent accommodation in the Cotswolds not only offers guests a luxurious stay, it also offers a glimpse into a rich and varied history. Discover the secrets and heritage of Lords of the Manor for yourself in this blog post.
Lords of the Manor in its original incarnation dates back to around 1649. Originally a much smaller house, over the years the property has been added to and altered by those who owned it. The Slaughter family (originally Sclostre, meaning “a slough or muddy place”) purchased the Manor from King Henry VIII. It was later occupied by Ferdinando Tracy Travell, whose portrait still hangs on the first-floor landing. The Travell coat-of-arms can also be found incorporated into the decoration of the Drawing Room fireplace.
The 19th Century
In 1808, the house passed to the Reverend Francis Edward Witts – nephew of Ferdinando Tracy Travell. The Witts family were the first Rectors, and then Lords of Upper Slaughter. When the Reverend E. F. Witts died, he was succeeded by his son the Reverend Canon Francis Edward Broome Witts. “Broome” is a minor corruption of “broom” and the plant – known in Latin as planta genista – and this plant gave its name to the Plantagenet Kings of England. These kings wore a sprig of broom in their helmets in battle and the broom’s association with the Witts’ and Upper Slaughter is commemorated in the family crest that can be discovered over the porch – it contains the sprig of broom in an eagle’s beak.
The 20th Century
F.E. Broome Witts was succeeded in 1913 by his son, Major Edward Francis Broome Witts D.S.O. Having served in the First World War, Major Witts returned safely to his home and it is a well-known fact that few areas of Britain were as fortunate as the Cotswolds; Upper Slaughter is one of only 14 ‘doubly thankful’ towns or villages in Britain – no men were lost in either World War One or World War Two. Throughout the Second World War, the Manor was occupied by the Army and it was during this time that the front porch was damaged by an army vehicle. Evidence of which can still be seen to this day, and the owners have no intention of repairing this mark of history. Fast forward to 1972 and the Manor was converted into a hotel. Francis Witts, son of Major General Witts, still resides in Upper Slaughter and he privately managed the property with his cousins until 1985. Lords was then sold to James Gulliver, with the Gulliver family putting the hotel up for sale in 1997.
Lords of the Manor is one of the few hotels in the Cotswolds that remains privately owned, and as such has been a somewhat ‘second home’ to the Munir family since they purchased the property in 1997. Committed to the conservation of the property and the evolution of its offering, the family has continued to substantially invest in both the house and gardens throughout their ownership. It has to be said that the beautiful condition of the Manor and grounds is down to their care and attention. The latest development to the hotel is the addition of a herb garden, that can be frequently toured. A local designer was recently commissioned to refresh and refurbish the hotel. The aim of this was to add a dash of contemporary flair to the traditional décor in public areas and throughout the restaurant. As you approach the property having travelled through the heart of the village, you will be able to see why the Manor is loved by all who have worked, stayed or lived here.