St. Michael’s Manor – a hotel with history

A historic retreat

St. Michael’s Manor was converted to a hotel in 1965 by the Newling Ward family and remained under independent ownership up until a few years ago.
The hotel is in the historic St Michael’s district of St. Alban’s, amongst 70 listed buildings, old inns, and mills, and backs onto the river Ver and Verulamium park – the original Roman name for St Albans. The park continues up to the magnificent Abbey Cathedral, only a short walk away. Meanwhile, the hotel settles within five acres of its own manicured gardens including a one-acre lake, which it is believed once stocked fish for the Romans and nearby monks.

There is evidence of a house on the site even before 1530, which was probably laid on medieval foundations traced back to the 11th century. Parts of an original floor and path are still visible in the cellar and can possibly be dated even earlier. The current manor house was built by John Gape in 1585, a well respected Tanner and local prominent figure, and the date can be seen in the plaster ceiling of the Oak Lounge, probably the most original part of the building.

The manor was owned by Gape’s descendants until it was purchased by the Newling Ward family, who sympathetically restored, renovated and improved the house and gardens to the highest standard.