The History of Weston


A Little Bit of History

The Manor of Weston in Arden has been an independent commune since at least the time of Edward the Confessor; it is therefore likely that there has been a high status building on the site since at least that time.
No definite record has been found regarding the structure of any previous building, but many historians believe that a medieval castle, referred to as ‘Zouches Castle’, probably stood on this site.  It is also believed that the present building and much of the fabrics of the nearby church of St. James is constructed from stone which was re-used after the castle fell to ruin.

The original three, south facing, gables were erected around 1580 by the Lords Zouche during the reign of Elizabeth I.  This construction includes the hotels’ Bar, Lounge, Library, Dubarry and Arden Suites, as well as many of the second floor bedrooms.  The paneling throughout this area is largely original or early 17th century. 

The oldest surviving example of furnishing is the fireplace in the Newdigate Bar, of which the over-mantle is late 16th century.  Of the eight hearths that were listed in 1666, four survive to this day, being those in the Bar, Lounge, Library and Arden Bar.  Incredibly, some of the original glazing survives, an example of which can be seen on the first floor of the north side of the building.

The remainder of the stone building was added in 1893, and includes reception, the restaurant, the lobby and several of the first and second floor bedrooms.  A large stable block was also added at this time, and has now been converted into luxury housing.

Fireplace, history, bar, Newdigate bar, Weston Hall Hotel, Bulkington, Warwickshire

At the time of the Doomsday survey (1086), the manor of Weston, along with the nearby villages of Bulkington, Barnacle and Marston were held by the count of Meulan and were probably granted to him at the time of the conquest.

The overlordship of the counts estates passed through the Earls of Leicester, Winchester and Buchan, and in 1352 the estate passed to one Henry de Beaumont.  At this time the Crown effectively administrated the land, as Henry was an only child.  Henrys’ grandson, Lord Sir Henry Beaumont was the last recorded overlord of the whole estate, which he held until his death in 1413.

The first known local lord, appointed by the overlord, was Roger de Wateville in 1143, who at this time donated much of the manors’ land to the abbey of St. Mary in Leicester.  Rogers’ nephew the first Ernald de Bois inherited the manor upon his death.  The de Bois family continued to live at Weston until 1313 when a certain William de Bois granted the estate, as a trust for her son, to the first wife of Lord William la Zouche, who held land in Ashby and Haringworth.

The lords Zouche held the manor until 1580.  However, there was a brief interlude between 1488 and 1495 when John la Zouche fought against the later king Henry VII in the battle of Bosworth.  In 1580 the manor was sold as a joint lordship to two country gentlemen, Mr. Humphrey Davenport and Mr. Richard Bucknam.  The manor was never again held by a Lord or used as the seat of a Lord.  The owners continued to call themselves ‘Lords of the Manor’, but they had little or no power.

The manor passed from owner to owner, many of them knights of the realm.  Very rarely did the manor stay in the same family for more than a couple of generations as it had once done, probably as a result of the lord’s loss of power.

Weston Hall Night (1)_608x355 (1)

Newdigate and Leyland

At the turn of the 20th century F.A. Newdigate, after whom the hotels bar is named, was lord of the manor having purchased the Hall and title in the 1890’s.The last lord was Lt. Col. Leyland, after whom the hotels restaurant is named. During the Second World War, it was he who allowed the hall to be used as a base for the local home guard.  Leyland acquired the manor in 1920 and died in 1958.

Weston Hall Hotel is protected under English Law as a grade II listed building, meaning that the exterior and many of the internal fittings cannot be altered without special permission from the heritage department.

The inscription above the door and again above the fireplace in the library.  What does it mean?
The inscription reads ‘FOYALL LOYALL’.  The fireplace in the library was imported from France in the 18th century and the inscription is a corruption from French.  It roughly translates as ‘fair of faithful home’. We feel that this sentiment is an ideal motto for the hotel.

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