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Wykes Manor - The House

300 Years of History and Little Change
History goes in circles and here at Wykes Manor we are attempting to go back to the original principles of Thomas Cowley who bought and renovated the already existing property around 1680.
It was previously mentioned in the Domesday Book as Wyke Farm, which either meant 'dairy' or 'fortified dwelling', depending on how far back you look and which language root you choose; Danish or Saxon. Evidence has been found of Roman activity in the nearby fields. Wykes is somewhere to take a holiday, relax or be inspired. It has been the retreat of artists, writers, photographers, sculptors, actors, therapists, doctors and many others over the years. Call to talk things through, or even pop over for coffee before making any decision!
The site is one of great peace and tranquility, to which the prolific wildlife will attest. The house is of red brick with a rosemary tiled roof. The structure suggests a previously thatched dwelling, and the single central chimney also suggests a much older building than that of the 'Restoration Period'. The house still has many of its original features, the most impressive being the main staircase, the bolection moulding and panelled rooms. The shutters and other features are still in place and still work. The limeplaster and reeding is evidently of a high standard.

Many of the features are similar to the below-stairs section of Belton House, Grantham (as yet we have not found any information on the connection). Much of the information we have aquired has come from people whose lives have been connected to Wike Farm or Wykes Manor over the years. Some were in service in the house, some were 'hands' as children on the extensive farm lands of the time. Some had ancestors who grew up in the house and left their initials carved in the beech tree at the front of the house, which dates back to over 200 years. Whatever the case, their stories have touched our family, as does the atmosphere of the place. It has inspired one child to read history at Cambridge, another to take English with a specialization in poetry at Sheffield, and another to take music, whilst all practicing the fine arts.

Whether you are making a day trip or staying for a longer period of time, you cannot help but be touched by the sense of timelessness, whatever the season. The long walks across many acres of fields which stretch before you, and the huge coloured skies where the sun often appears abnormally large, gently resting on the edge of the visible world. Even if you don't feel you are capable of being creative, that would soon change if you allowed the magic in!
Lincolnshire was the part of the country where many of the rich and famous had their country houses. It is surprising how many famous names come from within a relatively short radius. Sir Isaac Newton, Lord Brownlow, Lord A. Tennyson, Margaret Thatcher and from Donington itself, Matthew Flinders, who circumnavigated and chartered western Australia - with his cat!  And nearby Boston has the honour of being the departure point for the early Pilgrim Fathers - visiting enthusiasts of the period will find a great deal to interest them in historical sites and small museums with collections of extraordinary artefacts.



Eva Harding Bell, Swineshead Methodist Church:

She provided us with Coffee and Tea on arrival and yummy biscuits, lunch was a dream all sourced and cooked by her with artistic skill. Ruth and I are going back today for "High Tea" in her garden, something she runs from June till August every year... It will be a time of reconnecting to the beautiful God given grace that is Wykes Manor.

"We had our Alpha Away Day last Saturday. What a beautiful church retreat house and grounds, to find near Donington, not far from Boston. Emma was a wonderful host and from the moment we arrived she looked after us beautifully. There was plenty of room for our group to sit in her comfy lounge, and the grounds are amazing, to just walk and wander in total peace was such a tonic. Emma encourages people to take regular breaks there, even just popping over for the day, it's a beautiful place to connect with God and be at peace. 
A beautiful Manor House and grounds with its own little chapel. Lincolnshire is truly blessed to have such a venue in their county in my opinion.

Katherine from Cambridge:

"Great to be guided through different mediums and subjects with helpful direction!  Exploring myself, my spirituality and my creativity all at once".


"I came to meet this house as a companion and friend.  Let this place help you meet yourself in quality time and take advantage of tuition available in the arts. 'Abide with me'. Let Wykes be your companion.  Come and abide awhile; 'myself and I'.  Relax with yourself and discover your true self".

Poem by a Recent Retreatant -

'A Hidden gem in Lincolnshire'

'After a troubled day and night, before
The dawn reveals a hidden gem
Wykes Manor house and home
A place to be, the place to be today.
A place to hide, a place to share
A place that’s comfortable with itself
A place to meet others
A place to tell your story
A place to dwell in the Spirit
A place with Big sky’s, Large fields, and dykes to drain away
But cold and ice and snow and rain and sleet and sun again
Back to a roaring open fire and mug of warming tea.
Away from home, an yet to feel at home
Home is where the heart is
Home is where the heart is full of Christ
A place to be
A place to be for you and me today
A hidden gem in Lincolnshire' 

 - Bob Pritchard February 2015-02-07, Donington

Rooms Available for Hire

Rooms are available to rent on short term lets in our beautiful house. All rooms are large and spacious, with access to shared bathrooms. Breakfast and supper can also be provided.

We also have a fully-fitted office available to let in the grounds of the house. The office is purpose-built in wood and insulated, providing a tranquil working environment.

Wykes Manor offers flexible accommodation for events, receptions, parties, seminars, workshops and retreats from a centrally-placed location.


The Rooms


The Retreat Room

This large and historical room is situated in the part of the house that used to be the dairy. It contains a sink, twin beds, easy chair and a huge desk suitable for writers and artists. Originally it was probably the housekeeper's room. Thomas Cowley, who bought and renovated the house in the 17th century, employed a husband and wife team to keep the house and gardens, and we believe this to have been their room. Original features within the room include a carved wooden peg rack that may have been used for drying herbs.




The Attic Family Room


This spacious room has a double bed and two single beds. It also has an ensuite shower room.

Writer’ s cabin
The writers cabin is a static caravan, very simple in its interior. The exterior is wooden clad to blend in with the rest of the crew yard. The static will accommodate anyone who needs peace and tranquillity to write. It consists of two bedrooms, dining room / seating area and a kitchen with a sink, microwave, electric oven, kettle and sandwich maker. At present the bathroom only contains a toilet and sink. The shower is at the main house. Views from the static look across the fields of the farm on two sides where the horses are. It is within a short distance from the house.


The Period Drawing Room 
This room features period panelling, a triple sash Georgian window, two pianos, a sofa, four armchairs and a table. French doors exit onto the garden. The room can accommodate twenty people, and can be moved around to suit your needs.
The library is also available as a place of quiet reflection or teaching.


Among the barns in the garden and grounds are a small chapel, an art studio and a wooden office, all of which are available to hire, subject to bookings.
You may pitch your tent on the large field to the rear of the property.

Available Facilities

Available Facilities

There is a drawing room, dining room, library, art studios, space for marquees, bedrooms and a farmhouse kitchen.The grounds can hold up to 100 people. We can provide on-site over-night accommodation for up to 20 people. Additional local accommodation can also be arranged. Campers and caravans are also welcome.



Our chapel is also available, regardless of religious affiliation.Spiritual directors are available by prior arrangement - Derek Williams from Life and Spirit Ministries (, Artist Kate Austin from Christ Art (

Structured Retreats

Whilst you may just wish for the peace and space to finish a project or think things over, we also have a number of structured retreat programmes. 
Poustinia - the hermitage experience

Poustinia comes from the Rusian word meaning "set apart". The movement was brought to this country by Catherine de Hueck Doherty (see her book "The Gospel Without Compromise"). The main centre in England is Madonna House in Robin Hood's Bay, Yorkshire ( and the Mother house is in Ontario, Canada.
Here at Wykes we have 3 poustinia.


Please enquire as to availability :

1. Day Poustinia:

Day poustinia experience:£10.00 minimum donation. The poustinia is a wooden hut, a Hermitage, very simply furnished. It's a place to go and empty oneself. To go to be within the silence of God.


These poustinia have only just been donated. A team of willing workers put them up. They have yet to be connected with electricity, insulated and carpeted. The facilities are up at the house.

2. The Hayloft:

3. The Retreat Room

This large and historical room is situated in the part of the house that used to be the dairy. It contains a sink, twin beds, easy chair and a huge desk suitable for writers and artists.


Women's Retreats

There is the time, space and a listening ear to coach you through your days. To enthuse you and bring you the confidence to get back up to your full potential. This can have a creative / fine art direction. Or it could be the chance to read through our extensive library, to write, or to walk out around the area. The collie dogs are always wiilling to accompany you!