Ian Weightman

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History in the Making...of Mainoaks 15th Century Farmstead

Guests driving down a single-track lane to reach their accommodation at Mainoaks 15th century farmstead in the stunning Wye Valley also travel several centuries back in time.

Luxury four-star self catering cottages, along with a range of options on what to see and do, and where to eat, may await – but not one person arrives here without asking the exact same question….

“What’s the history of this place?”

The flippant answer would be: “its unique selling point”!

But the true story also helps to explain why (should you need to stop the car and ask someone for directions to get here) you actually need to ask for “Mannox” - since the property derives its name from the Manok family, of which a certain Robert Manok was one of the jurors of the Inquisition post mortem on Elizabeth Talbot taken on the 10th December, 1372, at neighbouring Goodrich.

The main house (the Old Hall, which is now converted into The Cider Mill and Peregrine Cottage) was probably first constructed in the 15th century, with later additions in the 16th century.  Records then show that by the 17th century the farm was owned by the prominent Weare family, who may have married into the Manok family, or acquired the farm from them.  The property then remained in their ownership until the death of William Weare in the late 18th century. 

He left two infant sons…and some very large debts, which led to their dispossession and the disposal of the property.  At the time of the Tithe Map (1838), Mainoaks was owned by William Henry Ross who also owned the adjoining farm, Rocklands.

Fast-forward a couple more centuries, to a time when tourism is about to take off, and you’ll find the Old Hall and farmstead being converted into Mainoaks Holiday Cottages by the then-owners, the Unwin family, who realised that the property actually stood a better chance of surviving (and thriving) as self-catering holiday cottages.

Mainoaks, of course, is also fortunate in also being able to offer fishing on the River Wye; and opposite the property is the site of an old weir commonly used for Wye salmon fishing.  More recently, Wye Valley fishing has become renowned for its coarse fishing - River Wye barbel and pike being particularly popular.

The latest chapter in Mainoaks’ history was written in time for the 2012 season, with the full and final refurbishment of the property - giving visitors from all corners of the world the chance to stay in the choice of six four-star (and very historic) self-catering cottages.

Family-friendly and dog-friendly, it ticks every box when it comes to a get-away-from-it-all short break or holiday in the heart of the country.  Switch-off the PC and the television, and it becomes the perfect antidote to the stresses and pressures of current day life.  But switch them both back on again, and the free WiFi connection, DVD players and iPod docks offer all of the home comforts you’d expect in any cottage of this quality.

The Wye Valley on the English-Welsh border, meanwhile, has been farmed, fought-over and enjoyed for centuries.  And careful the restoration and refurbishment of Mainoaks has ensured that while none of the history has been lost, it can actually be seen in the very fabric and wooden beams of every cottage.

So fire-up your log-burning stove with an endless supply of logs from the nearby barn, sit back, and relax.

Everything else - from fabulous footpaths to fine dining, private angling, outdoor pursuits to fine dining – is either on your doorstep, or just a short drive away.
A short drive from the A40, it’s also a short cut to the perfect break.  

For FULL details, visit www.mainoaks.co.uk.


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