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Welcome from The Clarkes!

A warm and friendly welcome to you from The Clarke family! 

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We have been lucky enough to own this beautiful historic house and grounds since 1979. We are immensely passionate about The Cleve and its wonderful history, and we hope that all of you enjoy your time with us as much as we will enjoy hosting you. 

But before you head off to book your visit to us, let us tell you a little bit about The Cleve and the extraordinary Fox family, who built it and made it the happy, joyous and welcoming home that it remains to date.

The Fox Family 

Meet Basil, our handsome and distinguished fox
(who we think looks a little like Mr Ray Clarke, owner since 1979!)

So let us tell you a little more about The Cleve and its fascinating history...

This rather splendid fox represents the enormous historical significance of The Cleve to the town of Wellington.

The Cleve was designed and built in 1864 by Alfred Waterhouse, a distinguished Victorian architect famous for designing The Natural History Museum.

Alfred designed the building for the Fox family, who owned a large local woollen mill business in Wellington (which remains open today - they produce the most fabulous tweed fabrics). Those who are observant will notice that the original Cleve building is shaped in the letter F (for Fox). 

Visitors to the Fox family described a happy and vibrant family life at The Cleve. Daily life at the manor house is documented in various booklets and literature published in the late Victorian period, and all accounts paint the most wonderful picture of joy, laughter and family festivities.


We believe that this happy atmosphere so early in the life of building has left an imprint that carries through to today. Many of our guests tell us how welcome they have felt and how The Cleve has felt like a home from home for them. 

Other Foxy Facts

The Fox family also owned their own bank (Fox & Co) from 1787 until the early 20th Century. In fact, they printed their own bank notes until 1921, at the bank's Head Office at 27 Fore Street, Wellington. The building in Fore Street is still used as a bank today, although it is now owned by Lloyds Bank. The Lloyds Bank branch at 27 Fore Street is called the Fox Branch, in honour of its long and prestigious local history.

The Fox family also apparently introduced skis to the UK and they appear to have had some influence in their early design! A skiing Fox... an interesting thought! 

So Basil the Fox has been busy for the last 150 years!

Look out for Basil around and about the hotel… and for references to the successes of the Fox family that are woven into the fabric of The Cleve (puns fully intended... apologies!).


Do also take a stroll into Wellington and wander down to Tonedale where you can see the original mill buildings and the Fox Brothers & Co factory and retail shop. One of mill buildings has a coffee roasting company called Braziers. They supply the coffee beans that we grind to make your fresh cup of coffee in our coffee house. Which means... the coffee that you drink while with us has been roasted in the very same mills that were owned by the family who built The Cleve. Isn't that wonderful! It's very close to our hearts. 

And there is so much more! But we will let you find out the rest when you visit. 

We look forward to welcoming you very soon!


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