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Landmark Trust
Landmark Trust

The Landmark Trust is a British building conservation charity, founded in 1965 by Sir John and Lady Smith, that rescues buildings of historic interest or architectural merit and then makes them available for holiday rental. The Trust's headquarters is at Shottesbrooke in Berkshire.

Most Trust properties are in England, Scotland and Wales. Several are on Lundy Island off the coast of north Devon, operated under lease from the National Trust. In continental Europe there are Landmark sites in Belgium, France and Italy. Five properties are in the United States — all in Vermont — one of which, Naulakha, was the home of Rudyard Kipling in the 1890s.

The Trust is a charity registered in England & Wales[1] and in Scotland.[2] The American sites are owned by an independent sister charity, Landmark Trust USA. There is also an Irish Landmark Trust.[3]

Those who rent Landmarks provide a source of funds to support restoration costs and building maintenance. The first rentals were in 1967 when six properties were available.[4] The Trust's 200th property, Llwyn Celyn, opened for rental in October 2018.[5] Landmark sites include forts, farmhouses, manor houses, mills, cottages, castles, gatehouses, follies and towers and represent historic periods from medieval to the 20th century.

Governance and administration

The Trust employs a 400-strong workforce headed by a Director.[6] Anna Keay was appointed Director in 2012,[7] succeeding Peter Pearce (1995–2012) and Robin Evans FRICS (1986–1995).

The work of the Trust is overseen by a Board of Trustees chaired by Neil Mendoza.[8]

Prince Charles became Patron of the Landmark Trust in 1995.

A group of high-profile supporters act as Ambassadors for the Trust, helping to raise awareness of the Trust's role in rescuing and preserving remarkable buildings. As at March 2017[9] these were: David Armstrong-Jones; George Clarke; Nicholas Coleridge; Simon Jenkins; Griff Rhys Jones; and Natascha McElhone.

In media

The Gothic Temple at Stowe was filmed in March 1999 as the Scottish Chapel in the Bond movie The World is Not Enough.[10]

In May 2015 five life-sized sculptures by Antony Gormley, titled Land, were placed near the centre of the UK and at four compass points, in a commission by the Landmark Trust to celebrate its 50th anniversary. They were at Lowsonford (Warwickshire), Lundy (Bristol Channel), Clavell Tower (Dorset), Saddell Bay (Mull of Kintyre), and the Martello Tower (Aldeburgh, Suffolk).[11] The sculpture at Saddell Bay is to remain in place permanently following an anonymous donation and the granting of planning permission.[12]

The work of the Trust was the subject of a six-part Channel 4 television documentary, Restoring Britain's Landmarks, first broadcast in October 2015.[13]

Four Channel 4 programmes, Great British Buildings: Restoration of the Year, transmitted from 23 March 2017, were co-hosted by Landmark Trust Director Anna Keay and Kevin McCloud. Buildings featured included Belmont.

Properties available for holiday lets

The following lists aim to be complete and illustrate both the variety of structures and geographical spread of the trust. In the Trust's early years, prior to the incorporation of the charity, properties were often bought with the support of the Manifold Trust. The Trust's current portfolio also includes properties bequeathed to the Trust, leased, or operated through a management agreement on behalf of other owners. Dates of acquisition and first lettings are shown where available from Landmark Trust or other published sources; time differences between dates often reflect previous/current ownership and the extent of restoration required.

Detailed histories of each building are prepared by the Trust's Historian during its renovation. These include summaries plus before and after photographs of restoration works as carried out. Each building history is then left as an album in the property for visitors to peruse. All Trust property history albums [60] were made available online for the first time in October 2018.[14]

The Landmark Trust manages the Island of Lundy in the Bristol Channel on behalf of the National Trust, and operates a number of holiday cottages there. The properties managed by the Trust include:

  • The Barn
  • Bramble Villa East
  • Bramble Villa West
  • Castle and Keep Cottages
  • Government House
  • Hanmers
  • Millcombe House
  • The Old House
  • The Old Light
  • The Old School
  • The Quarters
  • Radio Room
  • St John's
  • Square Cottage
  • Stoneycroft
  • Tibbets
  • Hougoumont, close to the site of the Battle of Waterloo. The Trust contributed to the Chateau Hougoumont farm's £3M restoration, from 2013. An apartment in the former gardener's cottage over the south gates has been let since 2015.
  • La Célibataire, Le Maison des Amis and Le Moulin de la Tuilerie, Gif-sur-Yvette, Essonne. Let since 2010.
  • Casa de Mar, San Fruttuoso – from summer 2016
  • Casa Guidi, Florence – from 1995
  • Piazza di Spagna, Rome – from 1982
  • Sant'Antonio, Tivoli – from 1995
  • Villa Saraceno, Agugliaro – restored 1984–1995
  • Villa dei Vescovi, Padua (two apartments) – from 2006

Properties under restoration

As at March 2019, the following properties were being restored by the Trust for future lettings:

  • Cobham Dairy, Cobham, Kent. Grade II ornamental dairy designed by James Wyatt in the 1790s in the style of an Italianate chapel, on the Buildings at Risk register.[33] The Trust launched an appeal in late September 2016 to rescue the building and had raised £200,000 by 31 March 2017, thereby securing a further £200,000 match funding from Ecclesiastical Insurance.[34] The full target of £954,000 was achieved by late 2017 and work was expected to start on renovation during 2018.[35]
  • Dunshay Manor, Worth Matravers, Dorset. Bequeathed to the Trust in 2006 by Mary Spencer Watson.[36][37] Initially part of the Trust's Legacy Estate, proposed for a 20-year lease from 2013, much repair work was undertaken in the subsequent four years. In Spring 2018 the Trust announced further renovation would take place during the Summer to enable the Manor to be available for lets from 2019.[38] Bookings for the manor from May 2019 onwards were opened on 9 March 2019.[39]
  • Winsford Cottage Hospital, Halwill Junction, Devon. Grade II former Cottage Hospital designed by CFA Voysey in 1900, also on the Buildings at Risk register.[40] After being declared surplus to needs by the NHS in 1999, the hospital was acquired by the Winsford Trust who gained some support for renovation from English Heritage and the Pilgrim Trust.[41] Proposals for joint community use and a Landmark Trust holiday let were presented to the local community in November 2016.[42] On 8 June 2017 an appeal was launched to save the hospital by raising £355,000 within twelve months, adding to an initial £96,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and money raised through other groups and supporters.[43] By April 2018, the appeal was within sight of its target, needing a final £40,000 to unlock a total Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £486,000.[44] The Trust announced on 19 July 2018 the full required sum of £1.5m had been raised, with restoration work scheduled to start during the summer.

Projects in development

As at March 2019, plans for restoring and renovating the following properties were under active development:

  • Calverley Old Hall, Main Wing – adjacent to existing property let. The pre-qualification stage of an architectural competition for the Hall's restoration closed on 1 August 2017, when likely construction costs were estimated at £2.3m.[45] On 13 February 2018 the Trust announced the competition had been won by Cowper Griffith [61] . Consultation with local residents on the proposed designs took place in March 2018.[46]
  • Semaphore Tower, Chatley Heath, Cobham, Surrey. Only remaining semaphore tower from the Napoleonic era, listed Grade II. An appeal for £160,000 representing the remaining 25% of its restoration cost was launched on 19 March 2019.[47]
  • Fairburn Tower, Inverness. Category A listed Tower House, built in 1545 for Murdo Mackenzie, Gentleman of the Bedchamber for King James V. Restoration proposals developed by Simpson and Brown [62] as Project Architects. £500,000 grant pledged by Historic Environment Scotland. Appeal for £800,000 launched May 2018.[48]

Other projects previously considered for restoration

Other properties previously considered by the Trust, but not progressed to completion, include:

  • Almshouses, Denton, Lincolnshire[49] – demolished by then owner Sir Bruno Welby, subsequently convicted in 1980 of unauthorised demolition of historic buildings and fined £1,000 plus costs[50]
  • Falsgrave Signal Box, Scarborough, North Yorkshire - under consideration from 2016 to March 2019[51]
  • The Master's House, Maidstone, Kent – rejected 2002 on grounds of size
  • Mausoleum, Seaton Delavel – rejected for risk of repayment of Department of the Environment grant[49]
  • Warder's Tower, Biddulph, Staffordshire – leased from Staffordshire County Council 2008–2010, returned when no acceptable solution could be found for dealing with four colonies of bats

Former properties

Properties formerly run as holiday lets and owned, leased or run by the Landmark Trust on a management arrangement basis include:

  • All Saint's Vicarage, Maidenhead – First floor flat in Vicarage complex designed by G.E. Street. Advertised as being prepared for opening for lets in 1990[52] and in 1991 but not listed in 1992.
  • Edale Mill, Edale, Derbyshire – The Trust bought the mill in 1969 and converted it into seven flats. Six were sold after conversion with one being retained for holiday lets until c2012.
  • Fish Court, Hampton Court Palace – owned by Historic Royal Palaces. Withdrawn from property portfolio in 2014.
  • The Harp Inn, Old Radnor, Powys
  • Higher Lettaford, North Bovey, Devon – sold in 2013 as no longer appropriate to the Trust's property portfolio
  • Hill House, Helensburgh – top floor flat returned to National Trust for Scotland in 2011.
  • The Master's House, Gladstone Pottery – The Gladstone Pottery Museum was transferred to Stoke-on-Trent Museums in 1994.
  • Meikle Ascog, Ascog, Argyll & Bute – sold in 2013 as no longer appropriate to the Trust's property portfolio
  • Sandford House, 7 Lower High St, Stourbridge, West Midlands[49]
  • 30, St Mary's Lane, Tewkesbury – bought in 1969 and let to local tenants from 2006.
  • Wellbrook Beetling Mill, Cookstown, Co Tyrone – returned to National Trust

Legacy Estate – other properties owned by the Trust

In addition to properties let for Holiday rentals, the Trust has been bequeathed other properties which it has refurbished and managed in other ways, through its Legacy Estate. These include:

  • Fountain Hotel, 92 High Street, Cowes, Isle of White – acquired 2010
  • The Tower, Netherne Hospital, Netherne-on-the-Hill, Coulsdon, Surrey – bequeathed 2015[53]


Details of each property available to rent are available online, on the Trust's website, and in a Handbook. Twenty-five editions of the Handbook have been published to December 2016:


The Landmark Trust Lundy Island Philatelic Archive was donated to the British Library Philatelic Collections in 1991 and is located at the British Library.[54]

Further reading

  • Landmark, A History of Britain in 50 Buildings. 2015. Keay, Anna and Stanford, Caroline. Francis Lincoln Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7112-3645-5
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