Saturday, December 8, 2012

Inspirations at Lewtrenchard Manor

I just returned from two nights spent at Lewtrenchard Manor at Lewdown. I decided to treat myself to a couple of days away from Brian, who has been struggling away in his studio, coming out occasionally with a small, black cloud over his head. I just wanted to have a place to write and gather inspiration for a book I’m working on, without Brian’s cloud hovering in the corner like an unwanted guest. Lewtrenchard is only about forty minutes away from our house and has been a favorite retreat of Brian’s and mine for the past twenty-five years or so. I may have written about it before (sorry - I can’t remember) but it is always such an interesting place to spend some time. It was originally built in (approx) 1600 and heavily restored by Sabine Baring Gould (best known for writing the hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers”) in 1872. Baring Gould knew Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who may have based Baskerville Hall in The Hound of The Baskervilles, on Lewtrenchard Manor (although there are other candidates for this as well). True or not - it is a wonderfully atmospheric country house hotel! 

I decided to bring a little faery creature with me, reasoning that there is a real connection to Faery at Lewtrenchard because not only did Baring Gould write many books about the myths and legends of Dartmoor but Conan Doyle was also a believer in faeries. So - Brian dropped me off and I spent the next two days and nights soaking up the atmosphere and eating fabulous food! Mid week, the house was practically empty so I had it mostly to myself, which was great fun. Very easy to pretend that one is Lady of The Manor when you’re the only one sitting for dinner! I looked out for the ghosts that are supposed to haunt (benignly) the house and grounds but failed to see any. When I downloaded the photos I had taken, I did however see one that looks suspiciously like the ghost of “Old Madame” beginning to materialize by the piano just across the hall from my room! 

Anyway - I came back refreshed and ready to ignore Brian’s little, black cloud (which had also benefitted from my absence and gotten much smaller!). 

I recommend an overnight stay here to anyone who wants wonderful atmosphere, fantastic food and beautiful surroundings and perhaps a touch of magic. Check their website - they have great deals on this winter! 

Here are a few photos of the little faery’s adventure as I followed it (I’m not sure if it is a “her’ or a “him”) around the house and grounds. 

1. Lewtrenchard Manor. 

2. at the window 

3. Old Madame materializing? 

4. the curio cabinet - full of butterflies. The little faery wouldn’t go near it! 

5. in the moss 

6. under the goddess 

7. the source of the spring.


  1. Please tell Brian the Chicago faeries are sending him extra dust and glitter. They have been meaning to write and send love to you both but they have been busy hiding car keys, dancing with squirrels, and preparing for winter. They said you would understand. <3<3<3

  2. Enchanting hotel. Love the photos.
    About the only thing remotely close to a haunted mansion here in California is the 'Winchester Mystery Mansion' and it is one spooky place. I think it houses 113 rooms? It is an intriguing place to tour in San Jose. One definitely comes away feeling the spirit realm.
    Teresa in California

  3. Oh, it looks wonderful! I scrolled quickly past the piano picture with its spectral anomaly, because it's still dark here and I scare easily. I'll go back and look again when the sun gets up.

    Did you check the butterfly cases for evidence of any squashed fairies pinned in there? I understand completely how they would make a fae nervous.

  4. Lovely-I can certainly understand the little faeries' unwillingness to go near that curio cabinet-ghastly indeed!

  5. Wendy,is it possible to get a print - say, a 5x7 - of the last image of the grotto with the elf? It says so much of an idea I've long been fascinated by and I'd like to have a copy for my studio.

  6. Lovely to hear you had an inspiring getaway. I have been thinking of you two as I open my enchanted forest of an art gallery/shop this past week. I hope I can entice you to come and see it someday. Much love. Amira

  7. Ooh! I'll be going on a family trip to the Dartmoor area later this spring (visiting from Canada). I think I will suggest this place to my parents. It looks gorgeous!