Wykes Manor - the house
300 Years of History and Little Change
History goes in circles and here at Wykes Manor we are attempting to go back to the original principles of Thomas Cowley who bought and renovated the already existing property around 1680.
It was previously mentioned in the Domesday Book as Wyke Farm, which either meant 'dairy' or 'fortified dwelling', depending on how far back you look and which language root you choose; Danish or Saxon. Evidence has been found of Roman activity in the nearby fields.
Wykes is somewhere to take a holiday, relax or be inspired. It has been the retreat of artists, writers, photographers, sculptors, actors, therapists, doctors and many others over the years. Call to talk things through, or even pop over for coffee before making any decision!
The site is one of great peace and tranquility, to which the prolific wildlife will attest. The house is of red brick with a rosemary tiled roof. The structure suggests a previously thatched dwelling, and the single central chimney also suggests a much older building than that of the 'Restoration Period'. The house still has many of its original features, the most impressive being the main staircase, the bolection moulding and panelled rooms. The shutters and other features are still in place and still work. The limeplaster and reeding is evidently of a high standard.
Many of the features are similar to the below-stairs section of Belton House, Grantham (as yet we have not found any information on the connection). Much of the information we have aquired has come from people whose lives have been connected to Wike Farm or Wykes Manor over the years. Some were in service in the house, some were 'hands' as children on the extensive farm lands of the time. Some had ancestors who grew up in the house and left their initials carved in the beech tree at the front of the house, which dates back to over 200 years. Whatever the case, their stories have touched our family, as does the atmosphere of the place. It has inspired one child to read history at Cambridge, another to take English with a specialization in poetry at Sheffield, and another to take music, whilst all practicing the fine arts.
Whether you are making a day trip or staying for a longer period of time, you cannot help but be touched by the sense of timelessness, whatever the season. The long walks across many acres of fields which stretch before you, and the huge coloured skies where the sun often appears abnormally large, gently resting on the edge of the visible world. Even if you don't feel you are capable of being creative, that would soon change if you allowed the magic in!
Lincolnshire was the part of the country where many of the rich and famous had their country houses. It is surprising how many famous names come from within a relatively short radius. Sir Isaac Newton, Lord Brownlow, Lord A. Tennyson, Margaret Thatcher and from Donington itself, Matthew Flinders, who circumnavigated and chartered western Australia - with his cat! We have a black cat in tribute to this fact!