There has been a manor house in Healing since Domesday.
The original medieval manor can be located in the cellar, where Flemish bricks can be seen. This building was transformed in the 1700s and this part of the house is where the reception and the Portman Restaurant are located.
In the 1890s John Maunsell Richardson, a famous Victorian racehorse trainer moved to Healing Manor and had it extended for his new wife - the Dowager Countess of Yarborough. The house was done in the Queen Anne style and there is much evidence of the Arts and Crafts style on the porch. Richardson also had built the stable block and some tithe cottages on the main road for his tenants.
In 1902 the house and land was sold to Gerald Portman, whose family had significant land holdings in and around Dorset and London. The Portman name is perhaps better known for the eponymous Portman Square which dates back to 1674.
Healing Manor was the country estate for the Portman family for many years. When Viscount Portman died his wife continued to live here until her death, when her daughter Penelope Bowlby inherited it.
When she died the house was purchased by a local farming family. In 2006 it was bought by a local businessman with plans for conversion into a hotel. Unfortunately these plans never came to fruition and the property remained empty until purchased in February 2013 by the Brennan family who lived in Healing.
Mark Brennan is well known in the catering world. He started as a trainee manager in a hotel in Fleetwood and eventually after living and working in Spain returned to the area and opened the hugely successful Art Bar on Cleethorpes Promenade and then Sugar Sugar, a boutique hotel in Cleethorpes Market Place and Bar Babylon.
A continuing link with the Portman name is the use of a lily in the hotel’s logo and literature. The Portman coat of arms is dominated by a Fleur de Lys, which with the incorporation of a lily in much of the hotel's literature preserves the link to the Portman name and also to the Brennan family for whom a lily has special meaning.
No this is not a headline to match the Star’s “Elvis found alive and living on the Moon” but the true story of Cure-All who won arguably the World’s most famous horse race, the Grand National.
Cure-All was bought at nearby Horncastle Horse Fair in 1843 for £50 after failing to reach the asked for price of £240, as the horse was found to be lame when inspected by a possible buyer Captain William Peel.
Although the Captain’s interest in the horse had waned, one of his friends William Loft stepped in to buy and then arranged for the horse to be trained at his farm in Healing (The Rookery) by Christopher (Kitty) Crisp. After finishing second in a preparation race and after hunting with the Brocklesby Hunt, Cure-All was entered for the 1845 Grand National at Aintree.
The first fence for the horse to cross was getting to Liverpool. As there was no mechanised transport available there was no alternative other than for horse, trainer and groom to walk the 120+ miles, which took them just over a week.
Having walked all that way the horse arrived in a very poor looking state and was considered by the experts to have no chance in the big race. The bookmakers did not even bother to offer odds as no punters wanted to back Cure-All.
On the day of the race the ground was so hard from overnight frost that the start of the race was delayed for several hours and some horses withdrawn by their connections. However as Cure-All was there and facing a long walk home, it was decided to let him run and he surprised the “experts” by winning the race in a then record time.
The horse is recorded as running in the name of William Sterling-Crawford who had leased Cure-All from William Loft the owner of the horse. Loft who was the second son of Grimsby’s then M.P. John Henry Loft, agreed to the deal provided he was retained to ride in the big race.
The winning jockey was spared the task of walking Cure-All back to Healing with the trainer and groom. Some 7 days later victorious horse and trainer arrived back at Healing and the records show that all the villagers turned out to greet the winners and the church bells were rung in their honour.
Healing Manor Hotel has named the ground floor lounge the “Cure-All Lounge” to reflect this extraordinary feat and plans to make Grand National day each year a special event day at the Hotel.
The present manor sits within a Scheduled Ancient Monument - the house and gardens enclosed by the moat and an embankment.
On this site a Saxon bone pin beater has been found and the site of a medieval garden was uncovered.
In the Victorian era, when renovations and excavations were taking place, it's believed the ornamental lake was created using part of the moat and the island created. On the far embankment within the Rookery stood a folly - constructed from stone most likely robbed from the nearby church in the 1600s when it's known the aisles were torn down due to being in a state of disrepair.
Guided history tours of the parkland and house are given every May as part of the Lincolnshire Wolds Walking Festival and in September for the Lincolnshire Heritage Open Days. Outside of these times may be done upon request.