History of Archway House, Sherwood Forest

After a fire in 1835 destroyed the Houses of Parliament, the 4th Duke of Portland offered stone from his quarries at Mansfield Woodhouse for its replacement. Whilst 50,000 cubic feet were used for the foundations and lower part of the new building, the stone was not thought durable enough for the whole construction. The Duke disagreed and set about proving his point by building Archway Lodge (as it was originally known). Started in 1842 and finished 2 years later at a cost of £16,000, it was intended as the first of 20 identical structures along a 21 mile private drive from Welbeck to Nottingham. When the Duke died before the completion of Archway Lodge, the rest of the scheme was abandoned.

Archway Lodge is a copy of the medieval Worksop Priory Gatehouse, and was sited on the ancient Broad Drive (renamed Green Drive by the Duke), so as to offer a view, through the arch, of the centre tree of Sherwood Forest, a mile and half away. The niches contain statues of the forest’s folklore heroes; on the south side Robin Hood, Little John and Maid Marion; on the north side, King Richard, Friar Tuck and Alan Dale, while four hares, emblems of the Portland family, decorate the North and South side parapets.

After the Duke's death, Archway Lodge was used as accommodation for estate workers, with the large central room over the arch serving as a schoolroom for some 30 children of the Clipstone and Welbeck estates. Educating girls from 5 to 15 years of age and boys aged 5 to 7 years old, all provided with red-cloaked uniforms by the Dukes of Portland.

Archway House has been restored using recycled and reclaimed materials and traditional building skills. The extensive land around the house has been cultivated following organic principals, the owners being pioneers in the natural and organic food movement. Having enjoyed it as a family home and a fantastic space for their two children to grow up in, the owners decided in 2010 to offer this unique historical space as self-catering accommodation for visitors to Sherwood Forest.

"Archway House has been our home for over 30 years. Restoring the house and conserving the woodlands and grounds has been a real labour of love for us and it has often meant finding imaginative and creative solutions to the many design challenges that life in a house of this size and listed status entails.
We are committed to an environmentally-kind way of life, and a desire to create a comfortable, relaxed home, whilst maintaining period features. So we don’t use chemicals in the house or on the land and we always choose reclaimed and reusable materials over new. All the building work is carried out using traditional skills and crafts, and the land is managed using organic, low impact methods."

Trish & Riccardo


archway 1Around turn of the century, for a time it was a school for local poor children.

archway schoolTeachers at the School

school childrenSchool Children 1910

archway stagGroundsman and gamekeeper with families