Tortworth Court

Front view of Tortworth Court

Tortworth Court is a Victorian mansion in South Gloucestershire built in Tudor style for the 2nd Earl of Ducie[1] between 1848 and 1853. Its architect was Samuel Sanders Teulon. The house is situated in the civil parish of Tortworth, near Thornbury in South Gloucestershire, England.

During World War II the mansion became a naval training base for coding and signals, under the name of HMS Cabbala, and a mast was erected in the high reception hall. After the war, the buildings constructed for the hospital and, for a time the house itself, became HM Prison Leyhill. Tortworth Court was then used as a training school for prison officers.

The property was designated a Grade II* listed by English Heritage on 9 July 1991.[1] By the 1990s, however, it had become derelict, and suffered a large fire in 1991. It was thereafter restored to its original style and extended at a reputed cost of £25 million. In June 2001 it reopened as a hotel operated by Principal Hotel Company.


Tortworth Court, entrance

Tortworth Court is especially notable for its extensive arboretum developed by the 3rd Earl of Ducie between 1853 and 1921, which has fine examples of rhododendron, conifer, oak and maple. The arboretum once surrounded the property and continues to be maintained and supported. Accessible by a public footpath, it is now divided between the hotel grounds, the grounds of Leyhill Prison and private land still owned and farmed by the Ducie family.[2] Rivalling at the time the collection of George Holford at nearby Westonbirt Arboretum, it still contains, despite the ravages of time, more than 300 specimens, including unusual and rare species and many fine specimen trees.

Tortworth Court gave its name to Saint class steam locomotive No. 2955 operated by the Great Western Railway.


  1. 1 2 "Tortworth Court". 2 November 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  2. "Westonbirt", in The National Arboretum Magazine, Winter 2009, Issue 78, pp 47-49
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Coordinates: 51°37′51″N 2°26′19″W / 51.63080°N 2.43862°W / 51.63080; -2.43862

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