Minster Lovell Hall
Minster Lovell Hall

Located in a picturesque position beside the River Windrush in the lovely village of Minster Lovell are the ruins of this 15th-century manor house, home of the Lovell family for centuries. The manor of Lovell was once in the hands of the Crown and appears to have been granted to the Lovell family by Henry I prior to 1124. The manor holding passed through a succession of Lovells until John Lovell (d. 1310) was created first Lord Lovell.

The manor was briefly held by Hugh le Despenser, favourite of King Edward II, during the infancy of the third Lord Lovell. Francis, Lord Lovell, was created Viscount Lovell in 1477, but after he fought on behalf of Richard II at the Battle of Bosworth his estates were seized by the crown. For a time it was held by Jasper Tudor, uncle of Henry VII, and then by a succession of tenants.

Minster Lovell Hall
Minster Lovell Hall 2

The Hall that you can see today was built in the 1430s for William Lovell on the foundations of an older house. The Hall is constructed of rubble faced with ashlar, facing the river, with a cobbled path leading to the main entrance on the north side, nearest the 14th-century parish church of St Kenelm. A vaulted gateway passage leads into the east end of the hall.

High walls on the west and south remain, though access to upper floors is not possible. Nothing beyond foundations remain to the east, where accommodation chambers may have been sited. At least one king is known to have stayed at Minster Lovell Hall (Henry VII) and it is possible that Richard III did so also, as a guest of the ill-fated Francis Lovell.

Ghosts at Minster Lovell

The story goes that Francis, Viscount Lovel supported Richard III against Henry VII. When Richard was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field, Lovell fled to his manor of Minster Lovell, where he hid in a secret chamber. The chamber's existence was known only to an old and trusted servant, who brought his lord food and drink. When the servant died suddenly, Lord Lovell's hiding place became a tomb, as the rebellious lord was left to slowly starve to death. It is said that the piteous moans of Lord Lovell can be heard amidst the ruins of his family home to this day.

Adjoining the Hall is a medieval dovecote (no access to interior).

There is a small car park about 200 yards from the Hall. Access via a gravel walk through the churchyard.


The residential block interior
The residential block interior
15th-century fireplace, north wing
15th-century fireplace, north wing
Looking down the west range
Looking down the west range

15th-century window tracery
15th-century window tracery
An archway in the north wing
An archway in the north wing
The residential block
The residential block

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About Minster Lovell Hall
Address: Minster Lovell, Witney, Oxfordshire, England, OX29 0RR
Attraction Type: Historic Building
Location: 3 m W Witney, off B4047
Website: Minster Lovell Hall
English Heritage - see also: English Heritage memberships (official website)
Location map
OS: SP324 114
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express

Opening Details: Open access site, usually accessible at any reasonable time


HeritageWe've 'tagged' this attraction information to help you find related historic attractions and learn more about major time periods mentioned.

Historic Time Periods:


Find other attractions tagged with:

14th century (Time Period) - 15th century (Time Period) - Battle of Bosworth (Historical Reference) - Edward II (Person) - Henry I (Person) - Henry VII (Person) - Medieval (Time Period) - Richard II (Person) - Richard III (Person) - Tudor (Time Period) -


Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest

Minster Lovell, St Kenelm's Church - 0 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

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Swinbrook, St Mary the Virgin - 2.8 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

Widford, St Oswald's Church - 3.2 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

Shilton, Holy Rood Church - 4 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

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