Marshall Meadows: Origins
In 1603 James VI Scotland became the first Stuart king of England as well. As part of the unification the people of Berwick were proclaimed ‘Freemen’. However they sought protection for the city and their families. They approached the Marshall, who in return for the protection of his army, was granted the lands that surround this section of the Northumbrian coastline. They became the Marshall’s Meadows.
1780 The House Is Built
A wealthy merchant and trader acquired the land and built a magnificent and imposing country house. Designed in classic late Georgian style this was a labour of love and sourcing materials and craftsmen would have indeed been a considerable challenge. Many of the original features still exist; the imposing bay windows and archways are typical of this era. Remarkably the house was soon put up for sale.
George Hogarth (1749-1832) was one of the earliest residents, his company, based in Aberdeen, traded successfully in salmon fishery licenses. He also was the Deputy Lieutenant of Berwick upon Tweed. Upon his death the ownership passed to his nephew, David Murray and subsequently to his relative William Murray.
In 1851 the property was purchased by James Swanston a merchant and Commission Agent in Riches Court in London. He died only three years later leaving everything to his widow Christian and their seven young children. Christian, born in Eyemoutth, lived many years at Marshall Meadows. Her daughters’ wedding receptions, held at Marshall Meadows are recorded in the newspapers of the day. One daughter, Catherine, married a famous theologian Reverend Marcus Dods who is the subject of numerous books. After her son John’s death in 1925 the house was once more up for sale.
The new purchaser was Thomas Darling, an Alderman of Northumberland County Council for many years. Thomas was a businessman and partner in Johnson & Darling. We believe that Grace Darling the famous heroine who helped her father rescue shipwrecked sailors from the rocky surrounds of the Farne Islands, was a distant relative.
The Second World War
The house remained in private ownership until the second world war when it was to have a new purpose. It was transformed into a retreat/hospital for fever sufferers and TB victims in particular. Ground floor windows were removed to provide cool fresh circulating air. Berwick winters can be harsh at the best of times so the attendants at Marshal Meadows were hardy folk indeed.
The house returned to private ownership and the Ayer Family lived here until the mid eighties. Andrew Ayer a partner of the Berwick accountancy firm Greaves West & Ayer still visits and kindly gave us the aerial photograph that you will find on the wall by reception.
The house was sold to experienced hoteliers and entrepreneurs, the Worsells, who saw the potential to create the perfect Country House Hotel. The terrace wing added 12 superbly appointed bedrooms built alongside a conservatory and banqueting suite which has been the setting for many a Berwick wedding celebration.
Marshall Meadows was bought by Classic Lodges. The company owned several country house hotels – the White Swan in Alnwick and the Old Swan in Harrogate, Grinkle Park in West Yorkshire being just three of a collection of more than a dozen. Marshall Meadows is still an ‘associate member of the Classic Lodges collection.
The hotel was bought by the Hester family. As private residential owners we care for the hotel exactly the same way that we would our own home. Our intention each day is to add one small ‘delightful touch’ that will help to retain the natural splendour of this historic hotel.