History of Langdon Court
An atmosphere all of its own…
Located in one of the most beautiful parts of Devon, Langdon Court is re-imagining the Country House Hotel experience. Brimming with history this supremely stylish Grade II listed Jacobean manor is now tailored to a rarely found exclusivity. Staying here is like having your own private country estate – a place where for the time you’re there it feels like yours.
The heritage-worthy Renaissance gardens and surrounding 10 acres of grounds add to the breathtaking charm of Langdon Court. From a walled garden filled with roses to newly-planted lavender banks, established woodland, and a lily-filled pond complete with feathered residents, the setting creates the perfect backdrop for this 16th-century manor.
A singular vision…
In 2021 husband and wife duo Donna Ida Thornton and Robert Walton MBE discovered Langdon Court. A visit that led them to be captivated by the estate’s extraordinary personality and to inspire the next chapter in its history.
Their vision for Langdon Court nurtures a different concept for a luxury Country House Hotel, with an approach that is very much about the guest’s experience and creates the sense of visiting a friend’s country home rather than staying in a hotel. In so doing, they have created a new breed of Exclusive Country House Hotel, which sports an indulgent kind of mannered old-world luxury and exclusive hospitality but is styled for the modern-day traveler.
A tradition of hospitality…
Steeped in history, Langdon Court has an illustrious past and a rich tradition of entertaining. Once owned by the Crown, it was subsequently inherited by Catherine Parr after the death of King Henry VIII, before being bought by the Calmady family in 1555. It remained with the family for over three centuries and one of their great legacies was the addition of an early English Renaissance garden, which still survives today.
In 1876 Richard Cory bought the house and during his ownership, he frequently entertained his great friend the Prince of Wales (who later became Edward VII), who was often accompanied by the society beauty and actress Lillie Langtry. The current owners have taken up this narrative to revive its original purpose with flair and typical artistic aplomb.
Art in residence…
Complementing the interiors’ signature individualism is the Donna Ida Art Collection at Langdon Court. Dotted around the house you will find beautiful oils, spectacular Terry O’Neill and Patrick Lichfield photographs, artworks from David Hockney, Barry Humphries, and Chris Levine as well as some of the most exciting emerging artists including the likes of Rocco ‘Rhed’ Ritchie and AdeY adorning the walls.
Donna’s love of collecting and her curatorial mindset began back in 2004. Since then she has developed an interest in different media, periods, and styles with a growing collection of modern British artists, French impressionists, and many more. Each artwork has been hand-picked so every piece has a meaning and follows her philosophy that art brings space to life, it adds warmth, tells stories, and gives joy. Ever-evolving, the Donna Ida Art Collection at Langdon Court creates interiors filled with a personality like a cabinet of wonders.
Custodians of the future…
Donna and Robert’s first task was to reverse the gradual decline the property had suffered over the years. Their meticulous restoration is not only returning the house and the gardens to their former glory but transforming it for the next century.
By slowly and carefully re-imagining aspects of the building and the grounds, Donna and Robert have combined respect for Langdon Court’s centuries-old history with a forward-looking plan. Their vision is to add to the many hands and ideas that have sculpted the estate over hundreds of years.
Photo credit: Wembury Local History Society