Once governed by William the Conqueror and mentioned in the Doomsday book, Yarner’s surroundings are steeped in history. Having been a popular hunting site in Tudor times it has distinct connections with Henry V11, Henry V111, Edward V1 and Queen Mary. Thought to have had a hunting lodge settlement where the current house lies on its grounds during the Tudor dynasty. Yarner’s royal British history ended in the 15th century, as the land, owned by the Crown was sold on in 1578 by Elizabeth 1. The building of the current Yarner Manor started in 1630 and finished in 1678 by Moses Stoneham. Yarner changed hands many times throughout the subsequent centuries but this family have kept on to it as a family for over 50 years.
The unusual architecture of the house gives it character and charm; the battlements emanate that of a French chateau. This has further relevance because the word Yarner was derived from the Aquitaine French for “where the eagles soar.” Fitting because the buzzards that glide over Yarner and our surroundings are plentiful, their sound is never too far away. The Grade II listed building and its 250 acre surroundings lie within the famous Dartmoor National Park. Haytor, a ramblers’ paradise is walking distance from the property and Yarner Wood nature reserve starts just below the property’s gardens, a birdwatchers’ paradise.
It runs in the family…
Yarner House has been in the Allerfeldt (originally from Sweden)/ Holman family for 3 generations now, bought in 1964 by the Allerfeldt’s and run as a working farm, Morpa (Swedish for Grandpa) was a hardworking farmer and Mormor (Swedish for Grandmother) was a portrait / landscape painter. Making Yarner an ideal location for them both to thrive.
Whilst they lived there with their 6 children, of which Maja was one, the enormous house and the wings were split into apartments with all manner of interesting people living there, from RAF pilots to students to social workers.
When the Allerfeldt’s passed on the family home to the first generation of Holman’s, Maja and Patrick philanthropically ran the Estate as Yarner Farm School for City children. They would bring coach loads of children from deprived areas of London down to the farm to teach them about nature, nurture and show them where milk actually comes from. Giving urban children the opportunity to see a farm and farmyard animals in their natural habitats. One of the most enriching element of this venture was that for many of these children, their trip to Yarner was where they experienced a truly dark night sky and speckled starlight for the first time. Unfortunately, after a 10-year stretch, this came to an end due to the lack of educational funding.
Entrepreneurially diversifying, the Holman’s decided to run the house as a wonderful wedding venue, this has continued for over 20 years. Yarner was one of the first licensed private wedding venues in Devon. Utilising the assets of the house and area, they simultaneously ran Yarner Water, a natural water business bottling and selling natural flavoured water in recyclable packaging.
Having undergone a stunning Scandinavian renovation by Maja, the Estate glides into the third generation, with the Holman sisters at the helm. Using their combined experience, one as a photographer and the other a creative producer, they are turning Yarner into something new. With newly renovated 5* accommodation, alternative style weddings with packages to boot and a host of exciting events to run alongside festive fairs, pop up restaurant evenings, high tea’s and concerts.
The new era dawns and as ever the Allerfeldt/Holman ethos stands firmly in benevolence as they support local venture’s through business collaboration, raise money for a range of charities at the events and offer out their family home to share its wonders with the world.