During the reign of Edward I in the 14th-century, Tortworth belonged to wealthy local nobleman, Sir Nicholas Kingston. It was subsequently in the possession of the De Veel and Throckmorton families for 200 years, before being purchased by Sir William Ducie.
The Tortworth Estate remained the ancestral home of the Ducie family for the next 350 years. In 1840 Tortworth was owned by Henry George Francis, the 2nd Earl of Ducie. He suffered with rheumatism and arthritis and hated the long, cold winters at his country home in Woodchester, instead favouring Tortworth’s healthier proximity to sea level.
Tortworth Court as you see it today was designed by Samuel Sanders Teulon and was built between 1849 and 1853 in the ‘high Victorian’ style of architecture that was highly fashionable at the time. It was only as recently as 1991 that the Ducie family finally sold the estate after a 350 year tenure. It was bought with the intention of turning it into luxury flats, before a disastrous fire forced it to lay derelict for a decade. In 2001 it was restored and opened as a luxury hotel.
The hotel received a £20 million restoration in 2018. Former stables have become bedrooms and the iconic Orangery is now a grand and unique venue for weddings and events. The vast library now functions as the hotel’s dining room and the Westminster Suite is a completely new building, designed to complement the style of the original house. The corridor leading to the suite offers views of a beautiful magnolia tree of such botanical importance that it was granted special protection. All the original paths in the garden had become grassed over and, it wasn’t until the job of clearing them began that a pet cemetery was revealed, beyond the Wisteria and Laburnum tunnel. All the trees of the estate have been documented to record their species, size, age and condition.
For further details on the history of the estate, please feel free to download our history brochure or speak to a member of our reception team.