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From Georgian manor to four-star hotel: 300 years of Wentbridge House history

A family with eight children, a clergyman with a wealthy wife, a banker, a shipbuilder …Wentbridge House had a long and fascinating history even before its turn as a four-star hotel and events venue.

Little is recorded about the early days of this grand Georgian-style country house, although a datestone indicates it could have been built in 1700. The property does sit alongside the historic Great North Road, once the main arterial route to the north of England and beyond; and the village of Wentbridge provided a timely break for travellers, who faced an arduous climb through the steep valley to cross the Went River. Perhaps the house was to be a coach stop, or merely the home of a successful land owner and farmer.

Regardless of the first occupants or their intentions, it appears they tended the land well, planting or preserving many trees, including an impressive beech which now dominates the garden and is a favoured backdrop for weddings.

The first known owners of Wentbridge House, in about 1800, were the Sayles. A longstanding family in the district, and renowned sheep-breeders, the Sayles also lent their name to a parcel of land believed to be a one-time haunt of Robin Hood’s band of outlaws.

The Shaws and their eight children came next to Wentbridge House, in 1845, and it’s from them we know most about the property at the time. Mr William Shaw advertised the house for rent in 1854, describing its living areas, eight bedrooms, servants’ quarters, wine cellars, and outbuildings for horses, cattle, and pigs. All most suitable for a “respectable family” or a “gentleman fond of hunting”.

Reverend Thomas Cator bought Wentbridge House in 1850, likely thanks to his wealthy wife, Lady Louisa Frances Lumley, who gained an inheritance from her father, the 7th Earl of Scarborough. But it was the Leathams, owners of Wentbridge House from 1883, who appear to have made the biggest mark on the community.

Edmund Leatham was a partner in Yorkshire banking firm Leatham Tew and Co, which became part of Barclays Bank. He married Jeannette Cunard, whose grandfather founded the famous Cunard shipping line. Jeanette became known for her philanthropic work, especially for her support of children’s homes and the museum at Pontefract Castle. The Leatham Ward in the old Pontefract General Infirmary was named in her honour, while one of the wedding venues within Wentbridge House also bears the Leatham name.

After World War II, Wentbridge House passed through the hands of distinguished war veteran and shipbuilder George Lyon and then jeweller Edward Robinson, who recognised the property’s commercial potential and opened it as a hotel in 1960.

Fast forward to 1993. The Page family fell in love with Wentbridge House; and they own the property to this day. For the past 30 years the Pages have continued to build on the hotel’s reputation as a prestige venue, winning accolades for its accommodation, restaurants and other facilities, as well as for its outstanding personalised service to guests. Discover Wentbridge House for yourself. Visit or phone 01977 620444.

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