Abbey Gatehouse

Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire

Overview

Standing guard over Tewkesbury Abbey, this grand building of around 1500 is a tantalising base from which to explore Tewkesbury, the Cotswolds and Cheltenham.

  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • BathBath
  • MicrowaveMicrowave
  • Waitrose DeliveryWaitrose Delivery

Beds 1 Double

Sleeps
2
4 nights
£292 equivalent to £36.50 per person, per night

The Gatehouse

The Gatehouse has only one room, a very fine one on the first floor. At one end of this we have built a gallery, rather like an organ case. Inside there is everything you need but do not want to see and on its top you sleep, close under the moulded beams of the roof, painted the same colours as the vault of the abbey choir. The soaring west window of the Abbey rises only a few yards from your door, as you dwell in the 'lodging over the great gate.'

Tewkesbury

Set between the Malvern and Cotswold Hills with all they have to offer, Tewkesbury itself is an ancient and exceptional town. Its abbey church alone is worth making the journey for. Along the main street and in the narrow lanes running off it, medieval and Tudor buildings blend smoothly with those of later centuries. In one of these lanes is St Mary’s, another Landmark, a stocking knitter’s cottage.

See all our Landmarks at Tewkesbury

‘Wonderful to wake up in the morning with the sunlight illuminating the angel corbel...what a treat to be allowed to stay in such a magical place.’

From the logbook 

Floor Plan

Map & local info

Abbey Gatehouse is set between the Malvern and Cotswold hills in the ancient town of Tewkesbury. Tewkesbury Abbey, consecrated 1121, sits a few yards from your front door.

In Tewkesbury itself you can follow The Battle Trail or visit the museum to learn more about the decisive battle of The Wars of the Roses in 1471. You can also take trip along the river with one of the many Tewkesbury Boat Trips

Cheltenham is just a 20-minute car journey away, where you can enjoy The Wilson - Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum and the Holst Birthplace Museum. You can gain free entry with a National Art Pass, which enables its members to enjoy free entry to over 240 museums, galleries and historic houses throughout the UK as well as 50% off entry to major exhibitions. The pass is presented by one of Landmark's partners, the Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for art, which has been supporting museums and galleries for over 110 years by helping them to buy and display great works of art for everyone to enjoy. Income raised through the National Art Pass goes straight back into their charitable programme. Find more about it here on the National Art Pass website. 

Cheltenham is also home to four internationally acclaimed festivals, the most famous being Cheltenham Jazz Festival each May. The ScienceMusic and Literature festivals are also held annually. Between these four festivals, over 215,000 tickets are sold each year, making Cheltenham a cultural hub from May until October.  

Take a look at our Pinterest map for more ideas of things to see and do during your stay at Abbey Gatehouse.

See all our Landmarks at Tewkesbury

The Landmark Trust is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Abbey Gatehouse
Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire
Clear directions
FAQs

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    No.
  • How is the property accessed?

    Directly from the main road.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Ashchurch – 2 miles.
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    Yes, 1 parking space approximately 5m from the property.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There is electric night storage heating and also a stove which uses smokeless fuel.
  • How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

    Unfortunately, there is currently no arrangement for the purchase and delivery of logs, however details of local sources will be provided with your order confirmation.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc. There is an electric cooker.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There is one bathroom with a bath.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    Yes, the stairs are steep with open sides and treads.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    No.
  • Is this a property for hardier visitors?

    Yes, this property is hard to heat in winter.

    Booking and Payment

  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I create an account?

    If you have not used the Landmark online booking facility before and you wish to register in advance, you can set up an on-line account by following the instructions below:

    Go to the Landmark home page and click on Gift shop (located at the top of the home page in red).

    Select a gift (e.g. Landmark Handbook or Anniversary Mug) and complete the ‘Amount required’ box. There is no need to complete the purchase but this step is necessary in order to bring up the registration page.

    Click ‘Next Step’ at the bottom of the page.

    This will bring you to the ‘Your details’ page.

    Please complete all the fields (name, address, contact details and create an account). Click on the green ‘Create Account’ button once you have finished.

    At the top of the page headed ‘Your details’ there will be a grey box saying ‘Signed in’ and underneath this it will say ‘you are currently signed in as ….

    Here you will also have the option to ‘Sign out’. Please do so and that is your registration completed.

    Please return to the Landmark home page.

    To check your registration or update your account details at any time please ‘Sign in’ using the icon in the top right-hand corner of the home page.

    If you experience any problems in registering or setting up your on-line account please contact webmaster@landmarktrust.org.uk.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • What time can I arrive and what time do I have to depart from the Landmark?

    Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • Am I insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Are there televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there toilet rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.
History

Rescued by the townspeople in 1539

In January 1539, on the orders of King Henry VIII, the Abbot of Tewkesbury and the monks of his Chapter accepted the dissolution of their monastery and surrendered their property. The buildings of the great Benedictine Abbey were divided by the administrators ("the King’s Visitors") into two categories: "superstitious buildings to be destroyed" and those that were "convenient to be preserved".

The abbey church fell into the former group but was rescued by the townspeople, who declared that it was their only parish church; accordingly it was transferred to them for the value of its lead and bells – £483. The other "superstitious" buildings were demolished.

The second group consisted of domestic and agricultural buildings that could foreseeably come in useful to a new owner. These included not only the Abbey’s kitchen, pantry, bakehouse, brewhouse, stables, slaughterhouse and barns, but also the buildings called the Newark (the "new work" dating from about 1500, which were incorporated with the Abbot’s lodging to form what is now the Abbey House) and the "great gate entering the court, with the lodging over the same". Although a gatehouse must have stood in this position for centuries, in 1540 the one that survives today was relatively new. Stylistic details indicate that it was probably built either just before or soon after 1500. The upper chamber served as a lodging, probably for one of the officers of the Abbey, lay or monastic, or perhaps one of the "guests" who crowded many abbeys of the time (elderly benefactors who looked on it rather like an old people’s home). But little is known of its functions after the closure of the Abbey: such buildings were often used for parochial or manorial purposes, perhaps as a courtroom or a lock-up, but there is no written record of how the Gatehouse was used during this period.

Engravings of the late 18th century show that it was by then a roofless ruin, and it remained so until about 1849.  The 19th-century Age of Restoration was just beginning, and the then owner John Martin, a Ledbury man who was M.P. for Tewkesbury, courageously undertook its rescue. Under the careful direction of the architect James Medland, undesirable outbuildings were removed, and much of the masonry of the walls was taken down and rebuilt, the stones being replaced precisely in their former positions. A new carved timber roof with stone corbels and new lead was provided, the vault over the gate passage was rebuilt, and a few years later the massive oak doors were set in place.

After its restoration the Gatehouse seems to have settled back into its previous ornamental but empty existence, serving as a rather grand lodge to Abbey House. The latter was given a new south front in 1825, together with “alterations which modern ideas of comfort could not fail to suggest” and later became the Vicarage. The Gatehouse was thereafter put to various parish uses: the Girl Guides met there, and at one time an artist used it as a studio. It was reroofed again in the 1970s, after which a new occupier was sought, but the awkward access up the narrow winding stairs to the upper room made this difficult (as it must always have done).

Then a neighbour of the Gatehouse suggested that the Landmark Trust might be interested in it; she knew that difficulty of access would not deter it from taking on a good building – and she was right. A lease was duly negotiated, and Landmark took over the Gatehouse in 1986.

To read more about the history of Abbey Gatehouse please click here.

Restoration

Making the gatehouse habitable

When the Trust took on the Abbey Gatehouse, its principal task was to make it habitable. To fit in a kitchen, a bathroom and space in which to eat and sleep, all comfortably within a single room to which no addition could be made, required some ingenuity. Under the direction of the architect Andrew Brookes of Rodney Melville and Partners, the solution of a gallery, appearing like an organ case within this rather ecclesiastical space, gradually evolved.

This was just the beginning, however. The nearly-new roof was already leaking so a new roof was designed, which allowed for greater insulation and better ventilation now that the building was going to be inhabited. The ribbed stone vault over the entrance arch was showing signs of weakness and inside the main chamber the floor tiles were coming loose because the mortar in which they were set was crumbling. The two problems were solved together: the tiles were carefully lifted, the old fill was dug out (part of a gravestone was found in it) and then the stones of the vault were secured by fixing stainless steel ties to the back of the ribs. Lightweight reinforced concrete was then poured on to provide a firm base for the tiles.

Several of the Victorian iron window casements needed repair; much of the existing glass was of an unsatisfactory quality, so this was replaced with hand-made French glass, together with new leadwork. A new oak entrance door was provided but the one opening into the main chamber at the top of the stairs is old. The whole of the plaster was covered with six coats of limewash. Some of the original stones of the chimney breast had been left exposed in a previous restoration, but it was decided that they should now be limewashed along with the rest of the wall. The fireplace lintel was badly cracked, and had to be carefully pinned. A new hearthstone was provided and then the new stove was fitted. An unexpected problem proved to be the installation of both water and electricity without compromising the exterior of the buildings. The architect’s solution was to drill ducts diagonally up through the core of the wall, a job that proved extremely tricky but was ultimately satisfactory. Now the gallery could be fixed, and then it was possible to re-lay the tiles that had been taken up when work started. Many of them were worn, so the whole floor was given a polish with beeswax and turpentine.

There was some debate concerning the colour of the ceiling: plain wood and red lead were both considered, but the final choice was as close as possible to the blue with which the Abbey chancel had recently been limewashed, which itself was matched to a fragment of early paint.

A major problem now presented itself: how was furniture to be taken into the building? The stairs were too narrow for all but small objects. The larger pieces had to be carried upstairs in bits and then assembled inside the upper room; the armchair and sofa had to be upholstered there too. It is hoped that they never have to leave. The restoration was a complex task but the builders, John and Geoff Baylis and their men, together with specialist subcontractors all working to the highest standards of craftsmanship, have achieved a wonderful end result – a building that looks as if it has hardly been disturbed. So now you may stay where the 16th-century monks walked and feel yourself part of a world long gone, yet somehow here not dead.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.