One of the perks of looking for castles is finding those which have been converted to a hotel. Not all of them are as people-friendly as New Hall which is six miles north of Birmingham on the A5127. It is an exceptional West Midlands hotel and is also a marvelous value in prestige, comfort, amenities and history. New Hall has it all- plus twenty-six acres of gardens and parkland which includes a 9-hole par 3 golf course and tennis courts. It is seated proudly off Walmley Road amid many old intersecting roads in the Sutton Park area. You may meet a few celebrities and stars here while you lounge in the spa or dine in the award-winning restaurant! Wine vaults at New Hall offer a stunning array of traditional and new vineyard selections with the most superb selection.
Its name is not indicative of its status as a medieval moated manor house. New Hall dates from the beginning of the 13th century and may be the oldest continuously occupied moated manor house in England. Nevertheless, it has received numerous contemporary awards such as the coveted RAC Gold Ribbon Award with a Grade 1 listed exterior and interior. A drawing room which has been partially converted to a cocktail bar and nineteen bedrooms overlook the broad bridged courtyard terrace leading to the yew topiary, orchards and forested sunlit glades beyond. Each room offers unique and exquisite appointments with modernized amenities and quite a few have wonderful views of the gardens and surrounding moat ! There are sixty beautifully furnished bedrooms available, in all, with suites and studios among the offerings and every room is en suite with marble-tiled bathrooms!
Like many of its peers, New Hall offers private meeting spaces with the Great Chamber on the first floor which will accommodate up to sixty visitors or guests. It shows off 16th century paneled walls, extraordinary stained glass windows and magnificent plasterwork on the ceiling along with air conditioning. The Sir Alfred Owen room is named in memory of the pioneering Midlands engineer/industrialist who owned New Hall in the 20th century and accommodates up to thirty guests for events or private dining. Opposite that is the Chadwick Room which also overlooks the moated topiary garden and seats up to twenty guests for intimate dining or small get togethers.
Prior to the Norman Conquest, the land around New Hall was owned by Edwin, the Earl of Mercia who was executed by order of William the Conqueror and the land confiscated in 1071. The lands were then given to his brother Henry I who exchanged property with Roger de Newburgh, Earl of Warwick. By 1340 the estate had been passed to Thomas Beauchamp, the new Earl of Warwick and the following year Thomas bequeathed to Sir John Lizours, a humble knight who built his new hall for the first time. Prior to that, the Earl of Warwick kept a hunting lodge on the site which is assumed to have disappeared by 1435. The new L-plan manor was expanded and altered with another L-plan wing by the late 16th century. Some portions of the medieval hall remain to this day. During the Wars of the Roses, in the second half of the 15th century, the wealth of the owners fluctuated until Anne, the Countess of Warwick, finally ceded the property to the crown in 1487.
Just a few years before King Henry VIII gave the town the right to be known as the Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield, New Hall was acquired by the Gibbons family in 1525. Thereafter, it gained in prosperity when William Gibbons first purchased the manor and his son Thomas built an L wing addition by 1542 which included the previously mentioned Great Chamber. Although they have been altered extensively in more modern times, he first added the terraces, the mullioned windows of the Great Hall and most likely reveted the moat and landscape surrounding the property.
The most notable family to own New Hall came into possession just prior to the 17th century when the Sacheverall family purchased the estate and embarked upon quite a few improvements. Among those were enlarging the Great Chamber, adding oak paneling, the ribbed ceiling with molded and gilded plasterwork with added ormolu and window glazing with diamond etching done by George Sachverall in 1689. A first storey bay window bears the year 1590 along with the initials HS for Henry Sacheverall. You’ll find many windows which are of Flemish glass with a good portion in the Dining Room along with a carved stone fireplace from the late 17th century. Other windows carry the Sacheverall Arms and family crest with various branches of the Sacheverall family crest as well throughout the hotel.
Several generations passed the house down through more than two centuries during which time the house harbored the famous Jacobite Dr. Henry Sacheverall- who didn’t happen to be related to the family. After the Chadwick branch of the family gained inheritance, the last heir of that branch, who was John de Heley Chadwick, added the final touches of the mansion’s appearance by Gothicizing throughout and enlarging the north wing and built the 17th century central tower to its present height in the style of Early English in 1870. The house was converted to a boy’s school for a relatively short period of time, from 1885 until Lt Col. Wilkinson did a complete restoration to residential use by 1903. The medieval moat is fed by seven separate springs and the terraces, which were laid out southwards from the moat are from the 16th and 17th centuries. Many features of the gardens were added more recently in the 18th and 19th centuries with the more established wooded areas most likely ancient. You’ll find additional outbuildings on the property such as the Grade II listed coach house and stables. New Hall is a great place to explore at your leisure or after dining at the restaurant.
The house was converted to a hotel in 1985 when it was purchased by the Thistle Hotel Group and Ian and Caroline Parkes were asked to supervise the conversion. This hotel is celebrity-friendly and once served as a backdrop for the Bon Jovi video Sleep When I’m Dead in 1993. From May 1988 New Hall has been a luxury hotel which offers all that I have mentioned and a full spa which includes a heated indoor pool, Jacuzzi, saunas and gym along with spa beauty treatments. It is now owned and operated by Hand Picked Hotels so you won’t soon forget your stay here and it’s convenient to most of the West Midlands counties. When you arrive be sure to tell them The Castle Lady sent you !
The Castle Lady
keeping eyes on the prize!
Look for big photos of New Hall in the Birmingham photo album on Live.com