Meet the owners – William and Didi Vernon Miller of Blackwell Grange share the inspiration for their new accommodation on site 1604 –

As one of the county’s most desirable locations, Blackwell Grange now offers guests a glorious new opportunity to stay the night with its latest accommodation addition – 1604.

Discover the rich history that inspired the high-end design of 1604 in the SoGlos interview, offering an invisible glimpse of the place for the bride and groom.

About the owners – William and Didi Vernon Miller, Blackwell Grange

Blackwell Grange has been the home of the Vernon Miller family since 1944, after the current owner’s grandparents both served in WWII. The story began as a breeding for National Hunt Racing, which was successfully run by grandfather and father as a breeder and trainer until retirement in the late 90s.

The current owner manages several herds of purebred sheep alongside the arable farm and with the fourth generation napping on their heels, further diversification has been sought to keep this Cotswold farm in the family under the pressures of all that modern agriculture in the UK must face.

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How has the pandemic affected the wedding industry – and Blackwell Grange in particular?

It’s crippling! Both financially and emotionally, but like all adverse situations in life, you make choices that define you and Covid-19 was not going to be a reason for this family not to continue with their Blackwell Grange expansion plans. .

That aside, it was sometimes brutal, listening to couples adjusting to the alternatives suggested for their dream wedding day early on when there was still so much unknown that this unprecedented global pandemic broke out. Taking hold of our business, until seeing our struggling suppliers in the height of 2020, keeping their businesses was heartbreaking, as we all looked in the industry in disbelief at how we were all going to survive in this line of business.

At times we felt like we were being dragged out and while listening and witnessing some of the most poignant stories of families in our day to day existence suffering from such horrific sadness and loss.

What was the inspiration behind your new home, 1604?

The horses had rushed from the stables, for the last time, literally! The concept of the name actually comes from a date stone on one of our properties here at the farm. At BG, we are renowned for turning something old into something new and this is a much anticipated addition since our opening in October 2016.

We had already remodeled the exterior of this 17th and 18th century farm building complex in the first phase and felt the time was right for our business to get there. However, starting before the first week of lockdown in hindsight couldn’t have been more difficult for so many reasons and fierce determination prevailed. A labor of love that it has certainly become!

What makes accommodation at Blackwell Grange different from other wedding venues?

We live, eat and breathe all that BG has to offer as owners on site. We are constantly thinking and creating from all angles in this industry, now more than ever with the past eighteen months in mind we have really focused on making every bedroom a place where every guest could have a element of surprise and delight in our individually designed rooms, especially with covid-19 always firmly on our shoulder.

We have made the choice to welcome all people from all walks of life who want BG to be part of their special occasion. We offer exclusive use, but we ultimately chose to share our home and our focus on what they would enjoy; what they would expect, but in a low-key way, that thoughtfulness and above all comfort prevails in everything offered both within BG and now 1604.

There shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach when designing a complex of buildings that span several hundred years, but offer different options within the modern event to suit all the guests we have. would welcome.

We fully immerse ourselves in what suits our philosophy, combined with a realistic balance of what suits the character of the specific building, whether it is a light fixture we come to love or choosing the color of the fabric. of embroidered linen curtain in one of the suites. , inspired by the color of the owner’s engagement ring, or how we run our in-house laundry as sustainably as a commercial system allows, or maybe some of our electricity is generated from our solar panels in our farm.

From a design point of view, it was simple, because our main concept was to follow that BG is at the heart of our home every day of the year and that we have been its soul for four generations.

We wanted 1604 to be an extension of our family home (a bit more luxurious in places!) To share the layer of historic sentiment woven into our family’s tapestry. We are spoiled throughout the surrounding Cotswolds for accommodation, but rarely in a wedding venue can you immerse yourself in a renovation so nostalgic that guests tell us ‘staying a day is not enough!’.

The design brief was given to the owner, by the other owner – not as easy as it sounds!

We are fortunate to have a part of this duo who have both a brief surveying experience and a deep love and understanding of how old buildings fit into their modern surroundings – in addition to over twenty years quietly perfecting private residential homes as an interior designer.

There is a wealth and depth of knowledge and understanding of what both guest and owner wanted, infusing elements of family heirloom into each concept, while firmly keeping any feelings of any business concept.

The other half of this husband and wife duo is a full-fledged skilled craftsman, elements of his work can be seen everywhere, created while sharing the reins of the two projects overseeing all project management and day-to-day procurement with a local team selected by hand.

There are touches of delight, each suite of the 10 included is individually designed and bursting with color, some muted, some less! The names of the rooms are sentimental and, in one building, are reminiscent of the victories of the National Hunt Gold Cups, bred and trained here at Blackwell Grange.

There is sympathetic design in abundance and combined with the use of some ethical and current British designers in the interior industry, there is a wonderful mix of eclectic and authentic that makes the 1604 charming, but most of all it feels like at home.

What can Blackwell Grange offer for those looking for a wedding venue? (for example, packages that include place and accommodation?)

We don’t specifically offer packages, it’s not really us! We’re all about what we can create for you, and we work together on your vision and with our expertise in this industry, we’ll help you navigate the range of options. We also manage the venue and the accommodation as two entirely separate entities.

Is the 1604 only available to wedding guests, or can people hire for other events as well?

No, we are delighted to have many ideas on the race track for 1604 for all types of events, both private family occasions – not necessarily weddings – and also local, national and corporate opportunities. international agreements that would benefit both parties. rails. And with the owners’ design backgrounds both in interiors and as one of our recommended wedding florists, there’s ultimately a lot to share with what we’ve created here.

We are immensely proud of this rural but accessible part of the Cotswolds, steeped in our family, but sharing our home with others as caretakers for future generations is a necessity that many farming families have come to understand in order to survive. but above all to love and prosper.

What are the room rates at 1604?

We work on an individual booking basis, as all of our requests are tailor-made and unique, depending on length of stay and all other offers we have as our current weddings are all being held exclusively. Please come visit and we can share a larger picture of what is the heart and soul of BG and 1604.

For more information on Blackwell Grange and the new 1604 housing, visit

By Zoé Gater

© SoGlos
Thursday, December 16, 2021

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