Sunday, December 8, 2019

The Manor at Minster Lovell

­Before I left on my first ever trip to England, I spent a great deal of time researching what to do while I was there. I knew that I would only have nine days, and wanted to see as much as possible, without trying to cram in so much fun, that I ended up burning out.
I knew that I wanted to see the ancient stone array at Stonehenge. Even though it consistently makes the list of overrated tourist sites, and my own brother described his visit as “meh.”
When I went to buy advance tickets to Stonehenge, I came upon the English Heritage Foundation Website.
As I looked at the 400 or so sites under the care of English Heritage, I became aware of the ruins at Minster Lovell. Looking at the photographs I penciled it in as a stop while we were staying in Oxford.
View of the Church at Minster Lovell looking thru the ruins 

Reading more about the site, I learned that the first manor house at Minster Lovell was built around the 12th century, but the ruins that remain to this day are from the 1430’s when William, Baron of Lovell and Holand returned after the French Wars. He had become one of the wealthiest men in England and the manor was built to show his wealth.
William’s grandson, Francis became the 9th Baron of Lovell. His father had fought in the War of the Roses on the side of the House of Landcaster, however Francis was raised as a Yorkist, and was appointed Viscount Lovell by Richard III.
With the rise of the Tudors and the defeat of the House of York, the manor passed to the hands of the Crown.
The manor house
In 1602, Sir Edward Coke gained control of the manor. His descendant Thomas Coke resided in the manor from 1721 until 1728 and assumed the title Lord Lovell of Minster Lovell.
The hall would be abandoned in the 1730’s in favor of the family holdings in Holkham, Norfork, and most of the buildings dismantled for the building stone.
The nearby church and cemetery are still in use, but the manor is in ruin.
The Church and Cemetery
That said, I wish we had made it to the site earlier, the ruins make for wonderful images.

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