The Fluff Behind The Feathers: A History

Inviting, cosy and full of Cotswold charm; The Feathers is a property that is bursting with quirks, heritage and secrets. What other Oxfordshire hotels can you name with such a past? None with as much mischief as ours that's for sure...

The origins of The Feathers dates back to its birth as a 17th Century country townhouse. Situated in the heart of the historic market town of Woodstock, if you cast your eyes down the road you will realise that the hotel is only a stone's throw away from Blenheim Palace, seat of the 11th Duke of Marlborough and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.

Secrets & Statues

From the front of the hotel (overlooking the restaurant) guests can view an impressive statue. The story is rather remarkable; we have been told it represents the Virgin Mary. Whether you are religious or not, this is a fascinating piece of history as this artwork is said to have been found in the building as part of a wall that was built during the English Civil War. During this war traces of Catholicism had to be destroyed and the only way to keep religious items or statues safe was to hide or disguise their existence by using them as building materials. In this instance, The Feathers gained a special wall, and we love the story behind it!

The front reception area and study was a Sanatorium in a previous life – during the late 18th century in fact. Created to assist people recovering from tuberculosis, "The Feathers House" to the right of the archway was originally two storeys and joined onto Number 10. In 1888 it was converted to red brick and a third floor was added, hence the dated plaque at the top.

A Draper's & A Butchers

The Reception area of the hotel was a draper's shop at the turn of the century called ‘Alexander Bryden'. After a fruitful business, it was time for a change. The draper's shop was then taken over by a Mr Robinson who ran the space as a Butcher's shop until early 1950. It is said that he roasted an ox in the grounds of Blenheim Palace to celebrate the Queen's coronation - if you look from the side of the building you can still see where the shop window was!

Food for Thought

The Feathers restaurant is delightfully popular with guests and locals alike. It might be hard to believe, but it was once a line of cottages. If you look carefully from the outside, you can see that by every bay window there are traces of a doorway, or a door still in place. Little quirks like this make The Feathers such a treasure trove of stories and secrets.

A New Beginning

Following the closure of the butchers' shop and with the purchase of other houses, the main section of the hotel was bought and converted into a hotel called The Dorchester in the 1960s. The Dorchester was eventually sold to a hotelier called Gordon Campbell-Grey, who decided to refurbish the property. Our records don't go back that far, but alongside this work was his adoration of birds and taxidermy. And so, in a flurry of fancy and activity, The Feathers was born.

If you're looking for hotels near Oxford, then be sure to treat yourself to a fanciful stay at The Feathers. We'd love to see your pictures of the hotel on social media – don't forget to tag us!

No other Oxfordshire hotels are as full of charming stories or as mischievous as The Feathers. Book your stay direct for the very best rate, guaranteed.