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posted on 16th Apr 2013

We had a lovely day at the Castle yesterday with a special lady celebrating her 90th Birthday!

June Basden- the niece of Mr Vereker who used to own the Castle visited us to reminisce on her youthful years at Clearwell Castle. June shared some lovely stories bringing this historic building to life, so I thought it only fair that I should share some of the Castle history with you!

Built in 1727 for the Wyndham family, the present house replaced earlier buildings and our Ballroom is part of an older building dating back to the early 1600’s. Thomas Wyndham started the re-building, an estimate for the work from 1727 shows it cost £3277! Thomas Wyndham had a son called Thomas who was known as Thomas of Dunraven and Clearwell, it was his daughter Caroline who was next to inherit Clearwell estate. Caroline was a very influential person and it was during her time at the Castle that she allowed those in the village to use the Ballroom as a chapel as St Peters Church was not built at this time. Caroline died in 1870 and the Castle was subsequently rented out to various tenants.

In 1907, Clearwell Court as it was then known was up for auction. The auction took place on June 22nd 1907 and it was bought by Alan Gardner. A year later it was put back up for sale as Clearwell Castle and was purchased by Colonel Charles Vereker  who was a cousin of Lord Gort- the legendary hero of the Great War.

On March 18th 1929, Clearwell Castle was gutted by a fire. A priceless collection of period furniture, antiques and valuables were lost forever. Colonel Vereker restored the Castle, however sadly after he died in 1947 Clearwell Castle went to ruin. A businessman bought the Castle in 1953 with the intention of demolishing it.

Frank Yeates who ran a bakery in Blackpool heard the news of the demolition of the Castle and as he had been born in North Lodge as the son of one of the gardeners he was devastated by the news so brought the Castle for £3,000! Frank and his son Bernard restored the Castle bit by bit teaching themselves the skills they needed. After years of hard work they had restored it enough to open it to the public and held medieval banquets to pay for their continuing work.

During the 1970’s famous rock bands recorded albums in a studio in the basement. Badfinger rented the Castle as their home for six months in 1971. Bands such as Deep Purple, Queen and Whitesnake recorded here.

In 1982 the Yeates family part exchanged Clearwell Castle for Widecombe Manor. The purchasers (the Gresham family) carried on with the restoration and then sold the Castle to the Frazer Steele family to be turned into a hotel.

Country House Weddings Ltd bought Clearwell Castle in 1997 and long needed repairs were carried out as well as extensive redecoration. Clearwell Castle is an amazing house and has withstood the ravages of time, fire, ruination, rock bands and has now returned to its true self. As an exclusive wedding venue, many couples get to enjoy the most important day of their lives at the beautiful Clearwell Castle.

Katie at Clearwell Castle

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CLEARWELL CASTLE
Clearwell, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire GL16 8LG
Telephone: 01594 832 320
Email info@clearwell-castle.co.uk

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