History & Heritage
The history of Wroxall Abbey Hotel is a rich and varied one beginning in the 12th Century and continuing to evolve to the present day.
With this colourful and eventful past, Wroxall Abbey is easily one of the most unique and exciting hotels near Birmingham.
The original Priory was founded in c.1141, by Benedictine Nuns on Manor lands donated by Hugh Fitz Richard, Lord of Hatton. It housed ‘black’ nuns and prioresses from the 12th to the 16th Centuries and this was the founding of Wroxall Abbey Estate.
Isabella Shakespeare was Prioress here and other members of William Shakespeare’s family were involved in the Priory until it was dissolved in 1536 in the Tudor ‘revolution’ during the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
Robert Burgoyne purchased the Manor and the Priory in 1544, and named it The Abbey. Interestingly, Robert was the Commissioner for the Dissolution of the Monasteries in Warwickshire for Henry VIII.
In 1713 Sir Christopher Wren (architect of St Paul’s Cathedral) bought the estate as his country seat. He re-modelled the church and built the famous ‘Crinkly-Crankly’ wall. His wife is buried in the Wren’s Cathedral and 5 generations of Wrens are commemorated with tombstones, plaques and the family Coat of Arms.
The property was sold to James Dugdale in 1861 who demolished the old manor house, building a new one in 1866 just to the west of the original. Dugdale did however, leave the old Priory ruins untouched and this is the same mansion house and ruins that you see today.
The Dugdale’s were known as Victorian philanthropists; restoring the church in 1867, building the village school and new cottages and farmhouses for the local labourers.
In 1867, James Broughton Dugdale inherited the property and continued to work on the park and grounds until his death in 1927. The Mansion house, gardens and grounds were then occupied by Wroxall Abbey School for Girls from 1936 until the estate’s closing in 1995.
In 2001 the empty property was acquired by the private company “Wroxall Abbey Estate Ltd”. This heralded a new chapter in this estate’s illustrious and colourful history.
Much restoration and improvement has already taken place, and work still continues on the grounds and buildings with a ‘green’, eco-friendly approach, including rain water harvesting, re-use & refurbishment whenever possible, utilising sustainable materials and recycling to preserve the precious history & heritage for the benefit of future generations.