Wizards Thatch - A piece of old England in Alderley Edge
Wizards Thatch is a place that time forgot. We take a peek inside this quirky 400-year-old building, one of the oldest cottages in Alderley Edge. Emma Mayoh reports
To say Wizards Thatch was a major project is a massive understatement. The 400-year-old cottage, the oldest in Alderley Edge centre, was in a sorry condition when Ian Lambert first took it on in the early 1970s.
‘It was in a very poor state of repair,’ said Ian. ‘You could see the sky from the stairs and in the Camelot Suite we had 17 buckets catching the rain.
‘It was our family home pretty much from day one, living in it while we were doing it up. You can imagine what it was like.’
Former Wilmslow journalist and publisher Ian, who eventually owned The Buxton Times, has dedicated the past three decades to breathing new life into this quirky building with the help of friends and his son, Myles. It took many years to get the fabric of the building into a sound condition, with replacement oak beams and a re-thatched roof.
The building, which takes its name from a local legend involving an encounter between a wizard, King Arthur, his knights and a farmer on his way to market, has attracted a lot of attention over the years and some have described it as an ‘historian’s sweet shop’.
Ian, who still lives at the property with partner Alison, was used to people knocking on his door asking to have a look around. So two years ago he opened his home as luxury, five star holiday accommodation.
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In the summer the whole building is covered over with old vines, roses, pears and apples - it’s possible to pick apples out of a lounge window and pears from one of the bedrooms.
The building is separated into three different suites, The Merlin, Camelot and The Wizard, and is filled with trinkets and treasures collected by Ian on his travels around the UK. This includes more than 500 old ginger beer bottles, dozens of old newspapers, some dating back to the 1700s, and old cannon balls and musket shots, which housekeeper Denise Beevers has the unfortunate but appreciated job of cleaning.
Bringing this property back to life has, no doubt, been an enormous undertaking but Ian is proud of what he has achieved - and of continuing his family’s connections with the area.
He grew up in The Wizard Inn pub, just a short drive away, which reputedly dates back to the 13th century. His mother, Joyce Newbrook, was just out of her teens when she bought the inn and restored it to its former glory but being too young to hold a licence Ian’s grandmother, Dorothy, took it on and was a leading figure in the community, and was chairman of the Alderley Edge Ladies Luncheon Club, until her death in 1972.
He said: ‘It’s a joy to be able to share my home with visitors from all over the world who come to this taste of old England. Their smiles confirm that the many years of dedicated restoration have been worth it.’
Romance in Alderley EdgeRomance is always in the air for Ian. Honeymoons and romantic breaks make up most of the bookings at Wizards Thatch, which has been described as the most romantic place in all of England and was recently awarded the Certificate of Excellence by travel website Trip Advisor. The accolade was awarded to the historical building after 60 consecutive guests all gave their stay a 100 per cent rating. A suite at Wizards Thatch starts from �129 a night.
You can also find our more information or book Wizards Thatch at www.iknow-northwest.co.uk