There is no shortage of places to eat and drink in Woodhall Spa – the Dower House Hotel [http://www.dowerhousehotel.co.uk], the Golf Hotel [http://www.thegolf-hotel.com/default.htm] and the Woodhall Spa Hotel (formerly the Eagle Lodge)[http://www.legacy-hotels.co.uk/legacy-woodhall/index.php].
The most historically interesting of them all is the mock-Tudor Petwood [http://www.petwood.co.uk], built by the Baroness Grace Von Eckhardstein, daughter of the furniture-store owner Sir John Blundell Maple in 1905.
In 1910, she divorced her German husband and married Captain Archibald Weigall, grandson of the eleventh Earl of Westmorland, who served as land agent for the Earl of Londesborough’s nearby Blankney estate.
The following year they commissioned the London architect Frank Peck to extend Petwood, building a staff wing to the east on what the Horncastle News described as “an enormous scale”.
Peck’s carefully stylised modifications give this wholly twentieth-century house a “borrowed history”, suggesting a series of additions through the Tudor and Jacobean periods. The main staircase, often attributed to Maples carpenters, is more likely the work of Peck’s foreman-carver James Wylie. At an unknown later date – but probably not much later – the grandiose two-storey oriel-windowed entrance bay was added.
Also, mainly during 1913-4, Harold Peto was employed to design the ambitious gardens.
In 1933 Petwood became a hotel, and during the Second World War this was the officers’ mess for 617 Squadron, the “Dam Busters”.
Now, it’s an exceptionally relaxing place to eat, drink or stay. Indeed, you could spend a very satisfactory weekend staying at any one of the Dower House, the Golf, Petwood or the Woodhall Spa, and wandering off to have coffee, tea or a meal at each of the others.
And you could take home a picnic from the Bakery & Delicatessen at 14 Broadway (01526-352183): they’re far too busy selling superb food to bother with a website.
The history of Petwood, successively as a house and a hotel, is detailed and illustrated in Edward Mayor, Petwood: the remarkable story of a famous Lincolnshire hotel (Petwood 2000).
For details of Mike Higginbottom’s lecture Survivals & Revivals: past views of English architecture, please click here.