A multi-view postcard of Clearwell Castle
Clearwell Castle - early 1970's showing Mr Frank Yeates and his family.
From Left to right, 1 Frank Yeates, 2 Alice Yeates , 3 Bernard (Bernie) Yeates,
4 Susan Yeates.
Thanks to Bernard Yeates for correcting a few inaccuracies.
Frank was originally a Forester and was actually born at the castle in 1913. His dad George was employed at the castle as a gardener. The family left the Forest when Frank was 12 and eventually became bakers in Blackpool. Frank and his wife Alice bought the castle in February 1954 when it was tumbling down and ransacked. They moved in the same week. Bernard was 10 at the time and his brother Graham was 12. The castle had been empty for 6 years. The restoration was done over many years using such things as recycled floors from factories etc. A labour of love.
The dining room ceiling was moulded by Alice, being an ingenious lady. The dining room parquet floor bought as a job lot from somewhere, was hand-laid over one hectic weekend and when it was finally finished it was the very
early hours of the morning. about 1 am, to christen it we had a meal there at 2 am!
June Williamson adds : I rather think the
picture is a lot earlier than the 1970s, as Frank died quite young. The
photo would be Frank, Alice, Bernard and his wife - they had another,
My grandmother's friend was a Blackpool landlady and Alice Yeates was her daughter. My grandmother took me to stay there in 1954. They paid £2,000 for it and lived in a caravan on site. When I visited in 1954 some upstairs rooms had been renovated and some cottages round the courtyard. The Yeates had just managed to move into the castle by then and everywhere was very dusty with swallows and bats flying around at the top of the staircase. The castle had been badly damaged by fire and I had a leaflet on it - sadly disappeared now.
The main entrance was to the left, where there was a courtyard full of of hens.
I visited again in the late 1970s, when Alice ... was running it with her son, Bernard and holding Elizabethan banquets...
Frederick Cook adds : I visited Clearwell Castle many years ago and recall being told that the wooden flooring shown came from a Woolworths store, such stores being renowned for such with thin boarding in the years up to the immediate post-war period
Melvyn Jacobs added (October 2007): "As a boy I lived in the castle. It was owned then by the Creeds - who my dad worked for. They stripped out the flooring and sold it. Another family living there were the Wibys. We lived each side of the entrance arch in the old grooms houses".
Tony Batchford (Feb 2016): "... not so much on the photo but who will admit they attended a private party in 1982 involving MUD and a lot of beer!! Several Rugby clubs must remember.Tickets were used as a form of local currency. Cheers Bernard (presquile de giens)".
Anthony Davies added (July 2016): "... It (the castle) was sold to a man named Tony Gresham, who swapped his house in Widecombe-Devon for the castle".
The memorial to Frank and Alice in Clearwell burial ground.
Note the plaque depicting the castle that they restored.
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