Our History of Wolds
The opening of Wolds Village sees
these premises turning nearly full circle, back to the time
when, as the New Inn Coaching House, travellers could break
their journey & find refreshment. In the late 18th Century
the house was also the scene of the Bainton Beacon Assizes
with villians being locked overnight in the cellars prior
to their final walk to Bainton & then along “Dead
Lane” to Neswick where a gibbet (gallows) stood in a
field. Since then the property has been a traditional family
farmhouse under the name of Manor Farm.
There are now three of us involved in the business; Sally
& Chris Brealey & Maureen Holmes (Sally’s Mum).
Sadly Bob Holmes (Sally’s Dad) passed away in February
2009. He was the driving force behind the whole complex &
is greatly missed by us all. He was a very clever & practical
man who could turn his hand to anything. Wolds Village will
continue in his memory & is a wonderful legacy that he
has left us all to enjoy. When you visit be sure to take a
look around the art gallery in the central barn. This project
was Bob’s swan song, he developed this beautiful space
during a gruelling 10 months of Cheimo. He really was an amazing
After months of planning & preparation we eventually
moved in on Valentines Day 1995 & started on “Phase
1”of Wolds Village; the creation of two roomed tearoom.
We opened for business on 9th May 1995 having renovated the
Dining Room, Scullery & Kitchen.
“Phase 2”,the creation of a new toilet block &
the “Well Room” with its small bar area was completed
& opened on 16th September 1995. The well itself is just
short of 100 feet deep & would have been a vital source
of water when it was built approximately 200 years.
In November 1995, the Craft
& Gift Shop opened in the Old Stables & the adjacent
rooms became work shops for Bob’s woodwork & wood
finishing; so marks the end of “Phase 3”. Restoring
the sagging & roofless Dovecote was “Phase 4”.
There are over 700 pigeon holes with a central post which
originally had protruding arms that supported a ladder. This
could be rotated making it easy for farm hands to climb up
& take the fledgling birds & eggs which were an important
source of food. The restoration of the Dovecote was completed
in time to be used as our main entrance for the summer of
Phases have seen the relocation of the Workshop to the west
end of the courtyard & then enlarging the shop into four
rooms. We have also renovated outbuildings to provide us with
Bobs Clock workshop & showroom. We have added on the Archway
dining area with its panelling & coach house feel. February
2001 saw the opening of the conservatory
with a new bar area for pre & after dinner drinks.
The family has also managed to increase in size,
with the birth of Jasmine in February 2001 & Willow in
October 2002 to very proud parents Sally & Chris.
April 2005 saw the opening of the new Luxury
Guest Accommodation at the far end of the west courtyard,
a project that was begun in 2002. As with the entire project,
it was very much a family affair, each of the family members
being able to use their own talents in its building &
design. Bob was involved in all the planning & spent months
in communication with Defra who very generously provided us
with a grant. Bob also designed & installed all the heating
& plumbing system & each of the 7 ensuite bathrooms.
Lewis (Maureen & Bob’s son) & labourer Ben worked
with us on the project until its completion.
The design & theme of the room interiors was chosen by
the Partners to give a unique selling point over all our potential
competition. We then spent a great deal of time, researching
the decors & then making, finishing, painting panelling
& flooring. Sale rooms were searched for period furnishings
which we then restored & upholstered. Maureen had the
mammoth task of making all the beautiful window dressings
& bedspreads. Firstly choosing the fabrics to be sympathetic
to the individual periods & then researching the different
styles from each period in time. Maureen, Bob & Chris
created the garden area outside the hotel. Chris has also
wielded a mean paint brush around & about the place. He
was also involved in setting up the reception, dealing with
bookings & enquiries & the marketing of the business.
Sally did most of the tiling in the bathrooms & grouted
for miles & miles! She was also involved in the housekeeping
& reception planning. So as you can see we had an extremely
hard & busy couple of years, alongside the usual work
involved in running the tearoom, restaurant & shop &
bringing up 2 small children between us!! We are fortunate
to employ a wonderful hard working group of people, who are
all dedicated to the cause & without whom, Wolds Village
would not be the success that it is today.
Many of our staff members have been with us for more than
10 years & feel very much like part of the family. In
fact back in 2004 our Restaurant Deputy Manager Kathryn tied
the knot with our Head Chef Steve, strengthening our team
We launched The Gallery
on the Wolds, in November 2008. Once again the project
was overseen by Bob with assistance from Chris (woodwork &
electrics) & labourer Alberto. Of course, Sally &
Maureen helped too, with our “bonnie tiler” laying
every one of the floor tiles. It was also Sally who promoted
the gallery’s opening & ensured it was such a success
for both the artists & members of the public alike. The
aim of the gallery is to exhibit a wide range of work for
local artists as well as providing space for Sally & Maureen
to exhibit their own works.
In the summer of 2011 we started the Art
Trail which is a work in progress & will be added
to in the months & years to come.
Future plans are a a little vague at the moment, we do have
planning permission to “finish off” the buildings
in the West Courtyard with more accommodation
& function room, but the current economic climate is not
helping with that. We may have to wait for the next generation
– Watch this space!