THE MAIN HALL
The Main Hall is the heart of the house. Its beautiful decoration and antiques set the tone and always offer a warm welcome.
THE DRAWING ROOM
The Drawing Room takes you back to the grand days of English Country House living, with elegant proportions, Georgian furniture and Chinese Porcelain.
Relax in the window seats looking out over the main lawns and lose yourself in history.
THE TEA ROOM
Enjoy complimentary tea or coffee and home-made cake every afternoon in the Tea Room, being watched over by the collection of bronze, ceramic and marble lions.
THE GREEN ROOM
The Green Room is the perfect place to settle down by the fire and enjoy a drink and nibbles with a book or magazine and perhaps play a game of cards or chess.
THE BREAKFAST ROOM
The Breakfast Room is light and airy with large windows overlooking the grounds. Enjoy a wonderful breakfast in luxury surrounded by our Cantonese enamel collection.
The name Beryl comes from the surname Beryhale, landowners here from the 14th century. Wells Cathedral documents record the land in the area belonging to William de Beryhale in 1310 and to Sir Richard Berihale in the 1350s. In addition to the house and estate there is also a farm, woods, a stream and a lane that all bear this name.
The house was built in 1856 for Mr Edmund Davies, a local lawyer and Secretary to the Bishop of Bath and Wells. It was constructed in the Gothic Revival style from blue limestone with mullioned windows, decorated chimneys and pinnacles.
The Main Hall has a fine carved and pierced wood screen, tiled flooring and wallpaper typical of the style.
Edmund Davies and his wife Mary-Ann brought up 5 of their children in the house. The Wells Journal records a dramatic incident in 1859 when Master Sydney Davies, aged 15, was injured when the pony and trap he was driving went careering down the lane, crashed into a cottage on the Bath Road and continued past the turnpike before finally being intercepted. Fortunately neither his three younger siblings and a nurse maid, who were also in the trap, or the pony were injured.
Mr Davies died in 1863 and the family moved to London leaving the house largely unoccupied.
In 1892 Edward George Augustus Moore, the 6th Earl Mount Cashell purchased the house on his retirement as a lawyer in London. He used it as his main residence and as a hunting lodge, entertaining local dignitaries such as the Bishop of Bath and Wells. He enlarged the estate to 79 acres with pastures and woodland extending down to St Thomas' church and East Wells.
His initials EGM and the date 1907 are etched into the window pane of the Master bedroom and he can be seen standing to the left of the main group of staff in the above photograph from 1910.
His death, in April 1915 aged 85, marked the end of the Mount Cashell title. We have named one of our rooms 'Cashell' in his honour.
In June 1917 the house was purchased by Charles Bevan Jenkins, a solicitor from Swansea. He and his wife Kate raised 9 children and lived out their lives at Beryl.
During the war evacuees were accommodated in the house and there are testimonies from some of them who have returned to stay in the house as guests. Memories of eating apples from the orchard and milking the cow were common.
Three of the Jenkins sisters, Marjory, Kitty and Norah were still living in the house in the 1960s and 70s. Family and friends who came to stay have written of a happy place with a water pump in the kitchen and two or three labradors. The doors were never locked.
Whilst there were fortunately no modern extensions added or grand fireplaces removed the house sadly had little done to maintain it over the years and much of the land was sold off for housing.
In 1979 Mr Edward Nowell and his wife Holly bought the house at auction. There wasn’t even time for a survey and it was soon discovered that there was dry rot in the main staircase and an extensive restoration was needed. There was only one bathroom on the first floor, the large wood panelled bath circa 1910 in the Winston Room, and no central heating! The grounds, once so immaculate, were deeply hidden beneath a thick blanket of weeds and brambles. It soon became apparent that the restoration would take some time and require more funds so it was decided that a couple of rooms could be made available for paying guests to share the house with the family.
Eddie ran a successful antiques and jewellery business in Wells with a magnificent double fronted shop in the Market Square. He was able to fill the house with antique furniture, and collections of Cantonese enamel, Chinese porcelain and over 150 lions. He and Holly decorated the house with sumptuous wallpaper and fabrics, returning it to its former Victorian glory.
Holly, a natural hostess, gave the house a wonderful family feel and gradually increased the number of guests who could stay over the years. Eddie transformed the gardens and grounds, introducing formal borders, magnificent rose beds and specimen trees. He returned the Walled Garden to vegetable production for the house and built a swimming pool in the ha-ha off the front lawn. Their joint efforts regularly appeared in Country magazines and the house became part of Wolsey Lodges and Johansens.
Since 2021 the focus has shifted to providing guests with a more tranquil and exclusive experience. Taking advantage of the quiet rural location on the edge of the Mendip Hills the house is now adult only and limited to 6 guest rooms. Recent additions to the estate have included an Oriental garden with a Pagoda and an apiary. It is still a family home and our love and passion for Beryl keeps growing.