Cricket St Thomas Hotel History
A cider-country jewel with a rum touch of maritime, Cricket St. Thomas is an elegant mansion built c1820.
Designed in the Regency manner by the famed neo-classicist Sir John Soane, the house is noted for its glorious Grade II-listed gardens of mature cedars, maples and yews, on whose layout the 2nd Baron Bridport spent over £250,000; damming a stream, creating a chain of lakes and planting ornamental trees and shrubs. But for a country estate so rural in its setting, the story of Cricket St Thomas is decidedly maritime in flavour.
In c1328, the manor was bought by Sir Walter de Rodney, ancestor of Admiral, Lord Rodney. Then, in 1775, the estate was acquired by Alexander Hood, who was to assume second-in-command of the Channel fleet during the Napoleonic Wars. And to cap it all, the vice-admiral’s heir Samuel Hood, the 2nd Baron Bridport, married Horatio Nelson’s niece Charlotte, whose uncle and Lady Hamilton were frequent guests at the house.
Today you can readily appreciate and enjoy the loving care that Lord Hood and his family lavished on this stunning estate. Within the grounds is the 12th Century parish church of St Thomas, which features the brocade cloth which adorned the Coronation altar in 1953.
All told, with a heritage as noble and as varied as this, it’s small wonder that the BBC chose the estate of Cricket St Thomas as location for the popular sitcom ‘To The Manor Born’ adding a fitting extra dimension to a history that’s already an embarrassment of riches.