Manor House Wedding Venues

There are so many wonderful wedding venues in Devon, and indeed up and down the country – from low-key beachside locations, to marquees in idyllic spots or rural barns oozing character. The options for newly engaged couples are almost endless, but in this blog we explore the beauty of manor house wedding venues using our very own Rockbeare Manor in Devon as an example.   

Rockbeare Manor - manor house wedding venue

Rockbeare Manor is a fine historic house set in mature parkland in Devon and like many manor houses of its time, it was not only conceived as a family home, but also as a place for entertaining.  And what better opportunity could there be, to welcome friends and family to enjoy and celebrate, than a wedding?!

Manor houses have so much to offer as a location or venue for weddings and here are 5 reasons why…

The First Impression

There is no doubt about it, manor houses were built to impress and that impression is something that begins from the moment that you set eyes on the entrance. That’s when the suspense and anticipation comes, and an intrigue of what’s next.

First impressions at manor house wedding venues Rockbeare Manor

Then there is the driveway, which at Rockbeare Manor was very much part of the designers plan.  It’s lined with trees from start to finish, but reveals a series of carefully composed naturalistic views or “windows” through these trees, across the park. 

This all culminates in the open view to the front of the house – the next first impression. With its wrought iron, regency balcony spanning across the front of the house, supported by six fluted Doric columns which just reinforce that sense of grandeur.

Rockbeare Manor in Devon - manor house wedding venues

And it doesn’t stop there…a grand entrance hall, atmospheric and fascinating Billiard Room, incredible Dining Room and first floor Drawing Room with private balcony, affording the most magnificent views.

Bride at manor house wedding venue Rockbeare Manor

The Views

As with many country estates, arguably one of the finest features is the parkland and far reaching views that can be seen from within it. The park at Rockbeare Manor here in Devon was made around 1820 from 33 previous enclosures and it’s registered by English Heritage, as one of the gardens in England considered to be of National Significance. 

In the style of the time, epitomized by the work of Capability Brown and Humphrey Repton, the landscape was designed to give a sense of freedom, naturalness and space and the views are a very significant part of this.

Parkland at Rockbeare Manor - Manor house wedding venues

The ha-ha that can be found if you explore beyond the flower meadow at the front of Rockbeare Manor, creates a vertical barrier which not only prevents grazing animals from wandering into the adjoining gardens, more importantly, it provides an uninterrupted view of the landscape beyond, giving a continuous vista which creates an illusion that the garden and landscape are one.

Bride at Groom at manor house wedding venue in Devon

Finding a wedding venue that has beautiful backdrops for photographs is on the priority list for most brides and grooms and that’s an area where manor house wedding venues will not disappoint!  At Rockbeare Manor we are lucky enough to be able to see all the way to Dartmoor National Park, including Cawsand Beacon, as well as The Haldon Belvedere, an iconic landmark which sits high in the hills of Haldon Forest, above Exeter.

The History

Every manor house will have an interesting and diverse history and much of that will come from the characters that have lived in them.  From the people, to the paintings, sculptures and architecture – it will all tell a story. 

Chandelier at manor house wedding venue in Devon 

Rockbeare Manor has passed from family member to family member since 1859 when William H C Nation, a wealthy Magistrate and non-practicing barrister, who died un-married, left Rockbeare Manor to his nephew Spencer Follett.  The house, passing down the female line, through the Follett’s and the Griffith-Williams, was eventually inherited by Caroline, Mrs. Gerard Noel, who lived at Rockbeare with her husband and family in recent times.

Statue at manor house wedding venue devon

 (Sir William Webb Follett - born 2 December 1796 in Topsham – 28 June 1845)

The Character

Each manor house is unique and has character, in abundance. It’s something that can’t be replicated – it’s original, interesting and it creates talking points and intrigue of a bygone era when it was likely to have had many more staff working there than the number of people residing in the manor itself. 

Rockbeare Manor is Grade I listed and although it had a thorough and very extensive renovation in 2015 / 2016, it’s beautiful, individual features were kept very much intact.  Having been on the Historic England at Risk Register due to its run down state it was given a new lease of life, sensitively transformed into an immaculate contemporary venue whilst still very much retaining all the beauty of its past.  This just adds to the interest of the venue and it’s historic, yet uncluttered feel, coupled with a contemporary colour pallet is the reason why many couples choose Rockbeare Manor as their wedding venue.

 Wedding ceremony set up at Rockbeare Manor wedding venue

The character highlights include the Adam style dining room of circa 1770 - a remarkable example of its period by any standards. Bowed each end and framed by large Ionic columns with apricot-coloured scagliola which stand in each corner, as well as an attractive and imposing fireplace and incredible ornamental plasterwork.

Plasterwork at Rockbeare Manor in Devon

Then there is the Georgian staircase, the chimneypieces in almost every room (including some bathrooms!), The Drawing Room which is complete with the most intricate trompe l’oeil. Its well-proportioned rooms, where light floods in from every angle through the huge sash windows have intrinsic dignity.

View from a window at Rockbeare Manor house wedding venue

The Lasting Impression

Manor house wedding venues are places that will leave a lasting impression on not just you but all of your friends and family who have experienced and witnessed your wedding day, in what is a magnificent historic building, a one-off.  Your wedding is another small but very important part that contributes to its rich and varied history.

Couple just married at Rockbeare Manor

As with many manor house wedding venues, Rockbeare Manor becomes yours to enjoy as your own, to welcome your nearest and dearest for what will always be a momentous occasion, irrespective of the number of guests, budget, or bells and whistles.  

The location is something tangible, it creates a feeling that stays with you forever, just like the memories.


Rockbeare Manor wedding venues in Devon

 As locations for special occasions go, manor houses really have got to be the perfect option – the beautiful settings, wildly grand and historic interiors, and the myriad of rooms to be explored. Just think, if walls could tell stories, we have no doubt that there would be many to listen to!


For more information on holding a wedding or event at Rockbeare Manor please do get in touch – we’d love to hear from you. Virtual tours also available.


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