Wortham Manor

Lifton, Devon

Overview

Staying here is an unrivalled opportunity to experience the life of a prosperous Tudor gentleman.

  • Dogs AllowedDogs Allowed
  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Logs availableLogs available
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • BathBath
  • Bath with ShowerBath with Shower
  • DishwasherDishwasher
  • MicrowaveMicrowave
  • ShowerShower
  • Washing MachineWashing Machine

Beds 1 Single, 4 Twin, 3 Double

Sleeps
15
4 nights from
£983 equivalent to £16.38 per person, per night

Experience the Tudor life

This is a medieval and Tudor house of the highest status. The outstanding joinery of its arch-braced and moulded ceilings and screens is of a quality to rival the more famous Cotehele. Wortham Manor was built and then remodelled by a junior branch of the great Devon family of Dinham, but little altered since.

The great hall and magnificent chamber above it are probably the work of John Dinham, constructed soon after 1500. Dinham was the cousin of Dame Thomasine of Week St Mary and oversaw the building work at The College, also in Landmark’s care. Like Dame Thomasine, John Dinham had lived and prospered in London. In 1533, when an old man, he was pressed to take a knighthood, but declined.

The perfect setting for a large gathering

Wortham Manor sits in rolling, rural surroundings and has its own large grounds. The great hall with its open fire is a perfect setting for large gatherings. A large farmhouse-style kitchen awaits for breakfast or coffee time. The rambling, atmospheric bedrooms and landings also swallow large parties with ease.

‘By the time the last of our guests arrived, the mood in the flagstoned kitchen was cautiously upbeat as we extracted a 24lb rib of beef from the industrial oven and presented it on the long table in the Great Hall.’

The Telegraph

The Telegraph

Floor Plan

Map & local info

Wortham Manor sits in rolling, rural surroundings and has its own large grounds.

The local area is full of places to visit. The Tamar Otter and Wildlife Centre is just a short drive from Wortham Manor. Carnglaze Caverns are a magical day out and suitable to visit in all weather.  

Jamaica Inn Smugglers Museum houses one of the best collections of smugglers artefacts in the country, where you can hear the tales of wreckers and smugglers in Cornwall over the last 300 years. 

Morwellham Quay and Tamar Valley Trust is an award winning museum on a World Heritage site; visit a historic port, village, copper mine and railway and experience the life of Victorian Cornish miners. Don't miss the anual Literary Festival and Book Day at Morwellham, which includes a fun writing competition for children.

Baring Gould Folk Festival is a wonderful weekend festival, just 30 minutes drive from Wotham Manor. Every year offers a fantastic line up and events such as workshops and street entertainment. 

In the nearby village of Lifton, make sure to pay a visit to Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre, which captures the magic of the traditional fairground with a collection of vintage rides, working exhibits and stunning artwork. Entry is free 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 at artfund.org/national-art-pass.

For more information and ideas of things to see and do during your stay at Wortham Manor, take a look at our Pinterest Page

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

Wortham Manor
Lifton, Devon
Clear directions
FAQs

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    Yes.
  • How is the property accessed?

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

    Plymouth – 30 miles.
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    There is parking adjacent to the property.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There is an Air Source Heat Pump system, an open fire and a woodburner.
  • How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

    Logs may be purchased and delivered under a private arrangement. Further details will be provided with your booking confirmation. 
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

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

    There are five bathrooms, two with showers over the bath and three with baths.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    The stairs are steep, spiral and narrow.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There is a large garden with a large millpond nearby (unfenced).

    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.
  • 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.

Do you have other questions?

Our Booking Enquiries team can help with information about each building.
Booking Enquiries
01628 825925
bookings@landmarktrust.org.uk

Opening hours are:
Monday to Friday 9am – 5.30pm


History

Its importance not recognised

Wortham Manor was only recognised as a building of more than ordinary interest after the Second World War. Architectural enthusiasts remained unaware of its existence partly because of its remote location, its reduced status as a farmhouse from the middle of the 18th century until 1945 and because from the outside it does not look medieval.

Wortham was finally ‘discovered’ by the architect Philip Tilden in 1943, who became its owner a few years later. He described in his autobiography how Wortham was one of the most beautiful houses of the late 15th century that he had ever seen. He spent many months, with the help of two "most conscientious German prisoners", removing plaster ceilings to expose the exceptional carved oak ones that can be seen today.

The origins and developments of Wortham remain to this day somewhat unclear. Originally there would have been a typical medieval manor house, with an open hall at its centre and a short wing at its east end containing a solar chamber on the first floor, also with an open roof. The hall range continued to the west with the usual service rooms below the screens passage, which probably had a gallery above providing access to the upper storeys of the porch. The hall itself was entered through the fine north porch with its decorative carving dated to about 1450.

A second phase of remodelling and modernisation then took place probably in the first quarter of the 16th century. The major alteration was the insertion of a floor into the open hall to create an upper and lower hall. The upper hall was reached by a new newel stair in a turret added onto the back or south wall of the hall. West of the hall, the former service rooms were turned into a parlour with a new ceiling similar in detail to that in the hall. Thereafter there were only minor alterations such as the addition of the panelling and fireplace in the parlour around 1600 and the creation of a farmhouse kitchen in the room to the east of the hall, probably after 1750, together with new ceilings which were to hide the early carpentry for the next two centuries.

This simple account is open to debate and others have argued that the central part of Wortham was in fact rebuilt in one complete phase soon after 1500 in its existing form. In a very traditional area, this would have been an advanced form of planning perhaps brought about by the family responsible, the Dinhams, who had business and family contacts in London and the south east where such ideas were more commonplace by this date.

Originally the house had crenellations on top of the hall wall to distinguish this important centre of the house from the rest. The porch, with its panel or tympanum carved in the intractable local granite by local craftsmen, was clearly intended to be decorative and to herald something grand beyond. The College at Week St Mary, also owned by the Landmark Trust, had a nearly identical outer door reliably dated to 1506.

The south front presents a less unified appearance. The walls are of different stone and of less high quality, revealing evidence of the manor house that must have existed here for at least a century before the early 16th century. The windows are a mixture dating from the 15th to the 17th centuries.

Restoration

Sold to Landmark in 1969

Philip Tilden’s work in the 1940s was so carefully done that it isn’t clear exactly what he did. Certainly, the very unusual screen now in the hall was built into a wall somewhere else in the house when he moved in. The Tildens moved on in 1949 and eventually Wortham was sold to the Landmark Trust by Miss Mildred Burgess in 1969.

As originally repaired, the house was converted into three flats – one for Miss Burgess and two for others to rent. A condition of receiving grant aid was that the main rooms – the old kitchen, hall and great chamber above – would have to be occasionally open to the public and so it was resolved to leave them as public spaces held in common by all three flats, rather as in the Tudor period they provided communal space for a household whose members would withdraw to separate apartments or lodgings at other times.

South of the old kitchen had been a dairy, already converted by the Burgesses into a sitting room. Beyond that was the cider house, still with its press, and this was converted to provide a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. To create a new kitchen for the flat on the first floor of the east wing, the loft over the cider house was built up to full height and given a new roof with a hipped gable and three new windows looking south.

The third flat was formed to the west of the hall. A kitchen was fitted into the closet next to the parlour instead of into a derelict addition still further west, which was constructed of cob and collapsed after heavy rains. The great chamber closet was included in this flat as its third bedroom, together with the bathroom that already existed in the porch.

Other major work included returning the roofs to their original form and appearance as most of the timber needed renewal anyway. A new stone chimney stack was built for the fireplace in Miss Burgess’s sitting room. Others were given stone rather than brick tops, and the chimneys of the main range were given new granite caps based on those shown in a drawing dated 1716. The stone all came from field walls being demolished by the Highways Department and the new slates came from the Delabole quarry in North Cornwall.

Structural repairs were carried out including underpinning of the walls. Woodworm, dry rot and death watch beetle all had to be tackled. Damp proof membranes were installed along with underfloor heating to provide a gentle background heat without the danger of drying out the timbers. Trusses, windbraces, lintels, joist and beams all had to be checked and their ends repaired or strengthened as necessary.

All this work took several years, and it was only in 1974 that Wortham emerged from its cocoon of scaffolding. The cost had also increased dramatically to two or three times what had originally been expected.

For 15 years Wortham remained divided into its three flats. But the main rooms, seldom visited by the public, were becoming rather sad and empty places, and there were also practical problems such as noise from adjoining flats. So in 1990 it was resolved to reunite the house formally. This was easy to do, with the old farmhouse kitchen taking on once again its former role. Wortham can now be used very much as it always has been and the self-contained life of a small but rich manor house re-created and understood.

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.