Clearwell Castle is part of Country House Weddings Ltd, a family-owned and run wedding venue group that has collectively held over 10,000 weddings in its four exclusive-use venues since its conception. The chairman and founder, Harry Bramer, still presides over the business today, with the help and support of his family and an accomplished team, all of whom are dedicated to one thing: your perfect wedding.
In the mid-15th century, Robert Greyndour started building the first house on the site, comprising a hall, a chapel and 12 chambers.
After the death of Robert’s widow, the estate passes to the Baynham family, who owned the land and manor house until the early 17th century.
The estate is bought by Sir Nicholas Throckmorton (pictured), an English diplomat and politician, who was an ambassador to France at the time of Elizabeth I. It was while the Throckmortons were resident at the castle that Sir Walter Raleigh courted Beth Throckmorton – a great romantic scandal of its time.
Thomas Wyndham and his family buy the site and its buildings for £3,277. The family quickly sets about building the mansion that we see today – one of the earliest examples of its style in the country. Whilst most of the building is new, some parts, including the ballroom, incorporated the original building.
The estate passes down from Thomas Wyndham to his son, Thomas of Dunraven, and then on to Dunraven’s daughter, Caroline (pictured). It is during this period that the grand ballroom, with its 75-foot aisle, is used as a chapel for the village folk.
Clearwell Court, as it was then known, passes hands numerous times before being purchased by Colonel Charles Vereker, who was a cousin of Lord Gort – the legendary hero of the Great War. It was during this time that the castle was gutted by a fire, and a priceless collection of period furniture, antiques and valuables was lost forever.
Although Colonel Vereker (pictured) restores the castle after the fire, his death in 1947 meant that it fell into ruin. A businessman buys the castle in 1953 with the intent of demolishing the building and starting again. However, a local son of a former gardener had other plans. Frank Yeates, who ran a bakery in Blackpool, heard the news of the planned demolition of the castle and, as he had been born in North Lodge himself, was so devastated by the news he bought the Castle for £3,000.
Frank, his wife, Alice (pictured), and his son, Bernard, set about restoring the castle piece by piece, teaching themselves the skills they needed. After years of hard work, they had done enough to open it to the public, and held medieval banquets to pay for their continuing work.
In a bizarre twist, what is now known as the Quiet Room at Clearwell Castle becomes a recording studio! Bands such as Led Zeppelin, Badfinger, Deep Purple (pictured), Queen and Whitesnake recorded albums there. Wedding guests who have been lucky enough to stay in the Mermaid Suite can boast that they have shared the same room as Freddie Mercury.
Clearwell Castle is purchased by Harry Bramer, owner of Country House Weddings, and is transformed into one of the most popular exclusive-use wedding venues in the South West of England.
The wonderful lodge and studio rejoin the estate, and are now offered as accommodation to wedding guests. The lodge makes the perfect place to stay for the groomsmen on the night before the big day.
Clearwell Castle is awarded Best UK Wedding Venue for two years in a row by readers of Wedding Ideas magazine, confirming its position as one of most sought-after wedding venues in the country.
The expansion of Clearwell Castle’s offerings takes a great leap with the purchase of a run-down pub and hotel in Clearwell village. The building is lovingly restored and is now offered to wedding guests as part of the ‘Night-before package’.
Since opening its portcullis as an exclusive use wedding venue, over 3,000 weddings have been held at Clearwell Castle. Here’s a taster of what a real wedding is like at our dream venue.