Here’s a photograph that I took at Minster Lovell Hall, an ancient Cotswold Manor Hall buried deep in the heart of the Cotswolds, and should inspire any watercolor artist!

The ruins of Minster Lovell Hall rise majestically from beside the banks of the River Windrush like something from a gothic horror novel.

The land here has belonged to the Lovell family since the 12th century and the vast hall is now sadly in ruins.

This photograph is one of a set that I took on the same day, the complete collection can be browsed on Flickr at full resolution.

History of Minster Lovell Hall

Photo's of Minster Lovell Hall

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Minster Lovell Hall was built by William Lovell around 1440. As Minster Lovell was one of the earliest estates held by the Lovell family and one of their main residences it was at least the second building occupying this site.

The Hall was a fairly typical if impressive manor house. The buildings surround three sides of a square; the fourth side towards the River Windrush was closed off by a wall. The great tower at the south-west corner seems to be a later addition to the house, as part of the adjoining west wing had to be rebuilt.

Minster Lovell Hall remained the main residence of the Lovell family. Richard III visited it as a guest of Francis Lovell, 1st Viscount Lovell grandson of William Lovell. Francis Lovell’s estates were declared forfeit after the Battle of Bosworth and Minster Lovell was granted to Jasper Tudor, uncle of Henry VII.

The property changed hands several times over the next two centuries and among the owners were Henry VIII’s gentlemen of the stool, William Compton and Henry Norris.

The property was bought in 1603 by Sir Edward Coke. The manor remained in the Coke family for several generations, and Thomas Coke, created Baron Lovel in 1728, abandoned Minster Lovell Hall in 1747. Large parts of the buildings were dismantled. By the early eighteenth century the ruins of Minster Lovell Hall were thought to have been the buildings of an alien priory.

The legend of Minster Lovell Hall

According to one report a skeleton was discovered in the basement of Minster Lovell Hall in 1718 and was thought to be that of Francis Lovell who had hidden there after the Battle of Stoke and had died of starvation.  Unfortunately, it seems unlikely this is the case. Francis Lovell spent little time in Minster Lovell and therefore would have no faithful servant there who could hide and feed him for years.

Minster Lovell Hall today

The ruins of Minster Lovell Hall are quite extensive. The most prominent feature are the Hall with its ornamented entrance porch and the south west tower. A dovecote, probably also built in the fifteenth century, is also part of the site. Minster Lovell Hall is now in the care of English Heritage.

Photo’s of Minster Lovell Hall

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These images are provided under the following Creative Commons licensing terms:  Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike – CC BY-NC-SA

Minster Lovell Hall is also one of the locations featured in the Tip Tours project that I’m working on with best-selling author Joe St Clair, who shares his tip “Travel New Roads” with me in this video here:


Next Steps

Please feel free to download any of my photo’s of Minster Lovell Hall. I hope they inspire you to create your own watercolour painting to share with us here. Don’t forget to post links to your painting in the comments below so we can see what you’ve done – Many thanks.