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Von Essen buys Thornbury Castle

Privately owned country house hotels group Von Essen Hotels has bought Thornbury Castle in Gloucestershire for about £5m.

The 20-bedroom hotel has three red stars from the AA and its 60-seat restaurant has two AA rosettes. It turns over about £1.45m a year.

Visitors to the castle over the centuries have included Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Mary Tudor. The building was begun in 1510 by the third Duke of Buckingham.

Further hotels in the five-strong Von Essen collection include Mount Somerset in Taunton, Congham Hall near Kings Lynn, Norfolk, and Ston Easton Park near Bath, bought for £5m in July.

Von Essen is owned by British businessman Andrew Davis and Austrian-born Countess Von Essen.

Thornbury Castle was formerly owned by Maurice Taylor, who bought the hotel in the late 1980s for £1m. He sold up after deciding to retire to Portugal.

His son, Justin Taylor, who was managing director of Thornbury Castle, is joining Von Essen to look after marketing and sales for the group.

Brian Jarvis will stay at Thornbury as general manager. The 60-strong staff will also be retained.

Von Essen plans further investment in the hotel and may add extra bedrooms within the former owners’ quarters. It will remain a member of the Pride of Britain consortium.

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