Thoresby Hall Hotel History
From Robin Hood to the Victorian Revival
From wherever you view it, Thoresby Hall is an architectural delight. A sumptuous riot of bays and balconies, gables and galleries and as sublime a slice of Grade I-listed Revival exuberance as you’ll find in the whole of Britain, let alone here at the edge of glorious and ancient Sherwood Forest.
But although what you can enjoy today is archetypal Victoriana, its history is telling. For Thoresby Hall is a noteworthy part of The Dukeries: a tract of forest land belonging jointly to the Dukes of Portland, Newcastle and to the houses’original owner Earl Manvers, whose ancestor Robert de Pierrepont accompanied William I during the Conquest of 1066.
In 1633, Richard Pierrepont, 1st Earl of Kingston and a grandson of the famous Bess of Hardwick, bought the mansion which had occupied the site for 35 years. Replaced in the 1680s by the 4th Earl of Kingston, the house was then rebuilt (after Palladio) by the 2nd Duke in 1771.
The present Thoresby Hall has occupied its site since around 1875. Designed by Anthony Salvin, with gardens by Sir Humphrey Repton and set in parklands by no less than Capability Brown, the mansion was home to the Manvers family until the death of the 8th Earl in 1955.
Today, as you stand in the extraordinary Great Hall and gaze three storeys to its open hammerbeam roof and its minstrels’ gallery you can almost taste Thoresby’s heraldry and sense of place. The Pierrepont coat-of-arms dominates the huge stone fireplace.
Yet the most famous name with which Thoresby Hall is linked is, Robin Hood, commemorated by the fabled Major Oak, England’s most famous tree, and the nearby church of St Mary, Edwinstowe, where Robin reputedly exchanged vows with Maid Marion. Whether for history or legend, a visit to Thoresby Hall never disappoints.