Minster Lovell Hall: A Picturesque Memorial to the Past
Minster Lovell Hall is a romantic ruined manor house set beside a lazy river in a tiny picturesque village along with the perks of swimming, paddling, and picnics.
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Half crumbled building, weather-worn stone pillars, pitted steps and staircases, inscription and carvings in stone - yes, this is exactly how an old, decayed building or an abandoned place looks like. Ancient ruins are remains of civilizations, and there are so many incredible buildings and structures all around the world that stretch back thousands of years. In this post, I will share about the ruins of Minster Lovell Hall and Dovecote - a Picturesque Memorial to the Past. This is a beautiful old ruin nestled near one of the beautiful English village Minster Lovell.
Each of us has their own reason for liking or visiting ruined buildings. Whenever I visit any ruined building I get mesmerized by their architecture and history. In this modern era where technology has taken over every aspect of our lives - including construction, the architecture of some old buildings is the living proof of the level of skill, craftsmanship, and materials that we rarely see today. It’s no wonder that visiting these quaint and queer buildings will leave you awestruck.
1. About Ruins of Minster Lovell Hall
Ruins of Minster Lovell Hall
Famous with the name of Minster Lovell Hall, ruins of this 15th-century manor house is located beside the River Windrush in the lovely village of Minster Lovell. The scenic setting, surrounded by tall trees and tucked behind the equally ancient churchyard of St Kenelm’s Church, the ruin attracts many visitors, especially in the summer season.
Historical evidence says that there has been a manor house at Minster Lovell since at least the 12th century. After that in the 1430s, William, Baron of Lovell and Holand and one of the richest men in England at the time, built a new house at the same location after returning from the French wars. The major parts of the ruins seen today are those of a large new house.
After that, Sir Edward Coke bought this property in 1603. The manor remained in the Coke family for several generations. Thomas Coke, the last resident of this property, abandoned Minster Lovell Hall in 1747 and large parts of the buildings were dismantled and taken away for his new house.
Ghost Stories about this ruin
Every ruin has legends and mysteries and Minster Lovell is no exception here. Over the centuries, ghostly wailing has been reported around Minster Lovell Hall and St. Kenelm’s churchyard.
Ghost of Francis Lovell. According to local legend, Francis Lovell, the ninth and last Baron Lovell who had joined the losing side in the Wars of the Roses, fled back to his estate and hid in a vault at Minster Lovell Hall. He gave a servent the only key to the house. After the death of this servant, no one was left to feed Francis Lovell and his little dog. And eventually, Lord Lovell’s hiding place became a tomb and Francis slowly starved to death. In 1708 while working on this site workers found his skeleton surrounded by mouldy books and the skeleton of his little dog at his feet. People believe that it is the ghost of Francis Lovell who wails at night.
The story of the ghostly bride. It is said that William Lovell’s bride disappeared during a game of hide-and-seek in the hall on her wedding night. Many years later, a servant found the body of a girl dressed in a bridal gown. It is said that body was well preserved in a leaden cool chest used for food storage at that time. People assumed that she hid in the chest during the wedding party and accidentally the lid fell shut, trapping her inside. Nowadays, village people believe that it is William Lovell, wandering the halls searching for his bride, who moans and wails at night.
Present status of this ruin
North wall of the chapel, and the hall
The ruins of Minster Lovell Hall are now in the care of English Heritage as a Grade I listed building (Grade I listed buildings are of special architectural and historic interest) and scheduled monument. The most prominent feature of this ruin is the Hall with its ornamented entrance porch and the south-west tower. There is also a fully intact 15th-century dovecote - a structure intended to house pigeons or doves. Currently, the dovecote is the part of private property with limited access.
The hall, a well, and foundations of the east wing, from the southeast of Minster Lovell hall
East doorway of the hall
Southwest tower, and part of the west wing
Entrance of the Minster Lovell Hall
2. Our visit to the Minster Lovell Hall and Dovecote
We visited this ruin in the month of September, perfect season to visit this place. As this ruin is located in a beautiful rural setting, you can see all the natural beauty in the summer season.
There is only one way to reach the ruin and that is through the Minster Lovell village. Full with beautiful cottages and houses adorned with colourful flowers, I must say that the village itself is a real treat for eyes. We parked our car in a free communal parking beside the village fields. After five minutes walk through this stunning village high street we reached the church. And after crossing the churchyard we saw this lovely ruin.
St Kenelm’s Church(left) and the west section of the ruins
If I have to describe this place then I would say this is an absolute jewel in the crown of English Heritage sites. This stunning country house ruin, set in a beautiful open ground surrounded by mature trees and a lovely babbling river nearby. The adjacent open ground is perfect for picnics and the fast-flowing but shallow river is ideal for paddling.
We spent some time beside the river. My kids were trying to spot fishes in the clear water of the river. We had a wonderful time exploring the ruins here. If ruin is not your favourite thing to visit then you can simply visit church, swim or paddle in the river or just sit peacefully beside the river.
3. Things to know before you visit
- There is no entry fee to visit this property
- Parking is free but with limited space. Visitors usually park in the village narrow streets considering they won’t block emergency vehicles or entrance to the private property.
- Be respectful and do not climb on the walls or play football inside the ruin
- Dogs on leads are allowed in the property
- There is no toilet facility at this property
- The river beside is shallow but be careful with young kids as it’s a bit slippery on the edges of the river
4. Want to read more about English Villages and old Castles
- Edinburgh Castle - The world-famous icon of Scotland.
- East Hagbourne Village
- Stunning Villages of Cotswolds
Ruins may not interest everyone but they have their own beauty and charm. Whether for the sake of art, nostalgia or for economic gain through tourism, it’s not always easy to preserve or maintain ancient ruins. Ancient relics and ruins are not only important historic sources, they also have been a source of inspiration for architects, artists and writers over the centuries. The impressive thing about Minster Lovell Hall is its beautiful rural setting next to the river making it a perfect place for a romantic or family picnic. If you want to spend quiet time by getting lost in nature’s beauty along with the visit of the lovely ruin than this is a place you must visit.
6. Let me know
What do you like about a ruined or ancient buildings? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
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Minster Lovell Hall