Kim and Whit Hanks, founders of Whim Hospitality, Camp Lucy and Tillie’s Restaurant in Dripping Springs, Texas are thrilled to announce their purchase of Grade I listed Abbey House & Gardens, Malmesbury on 1 November 2021.
This follows their purchase and refurbishment of England’s oldest hotel, The Old Bell Hotel, also in Malmesbury in April this year. The local community and leisure guests have embraced the improved ambience of the Hotel with the Saints & Sinners Restaurant, cocktail bar, high design lounges and delicious food and drinks.
The purchase of Abbey House & Gardens continues Kim and Whit’s desire to engage with the local Malmesbury community, artisans, businesses and entrepreneurs, where both The Old Bell Hotel and Abbey House and Gardens are part of the welcoming, active hub of Malmesbury life. While Abbey House public gardens have now closed for the season, Kim and Whit intend to continue to open them to the public from Spring 2022 subject to the necessary permissions. Other details of their proposals for Abbey House will be announced over time as they work alongside bodies such as Historic England to retain the property’s history and integrity.
Kim and Whit will be active owners of both properties and continue to divide their time between Malmesbury and Dripping Springs. Prior to these purchases, they were already regular visitors to Malmesbury, their Hanks family ancestral home since before 1500.
After the purchase of The Old Bell Hotel, a surprising discovery was made when title deeds surfaced revealing that member of the Hanks family - and Whit’s distant relatives, owned part of the Hotel over 150 years earlier. Mark Pleydell Hanks was also recorded as being resident at Abbey House in the 1841 census. The Hanks family are most certainly coming home!
Kim and Whit were delighted when they learnt of the discoveries. Kim said, “We didn’t know that the Hanks family used to own part of the hotel and lived here. It is an amazing coincidence”. Whit commented, “I have a grandson in America whose name is Henry Hanks and I love the fact that his distant English relative, with the same name, had his home here at the Bell all those years ago”.
About The Old Bell Hotel and Abbey House Gardens
The Old Bell Hotel is steeped in Grade I listed history; rumoured to be England’s oldest hotel and situated next to the stunning 12th Century Abbey in the centre of the vibrant market town of Malmesbury. Also adjacent to the Abbey sits the impressive Abbey House, another historic Grade I listed jewel in Malmesbury’s history and which includes the world-renowned gardens. It is said the first King of England is buried somewhere in the gardens and that two saints were thrown down the well! The gardens include over 10,000 different plants and have attracted visitors from around the world.
About The Malmesbury Hanks Family
The Hanks family was very prominent in nineteenth century Malmesbury. One of the most distinguished members was Henry Garlick Hanks who served as the Alderman, or Mayor, on several occasions. He was a talented silversmith and clockmaker and one of his clocks is on display in Malmesbury’s Athelstan Museum. It was Henry and his wife Sarah, who lived in The Old Bell Hotel, where title deeds show the Hanks family bought the leasehold in 1865.
About Whim Hospitality, Camp Lucy and Tillie’s Restaurant
Whim Hospitality offers highly personalised events and weddings where clients’ dreams are turned into reality and company culture is defined by Kim, Whit and the Whim family team. Whim’s family of services includes Catering, Event Rentals, Tents, Florals and Venue Management all designed to deliver customised, professional experiences clients love.
Camp Lucy is a breathtaking hidden treasure nestled on an idyllic Hill Country Ranch in Dripping Springs, the ultimate luxury getaway at the start of the Texas Wine Trail. This premier wedding venue in Central Texas includes luxury accommodations, world-class services and gorgeous venues.
With Tillie’s, Kim realised her vision of creating a space that evokes emotion, using food as an inspiration for friends and family coming together. At the Camp Lucy family property where it’s located, Tillie’s menu takes what’s familiar and infuses it with an array of innovative international flavours, creating a new set of rules for cuisine.
About Kim Hanks
As CEO of Whim Hospitality, Kim has grown her business from a small rental company in Dripping Springs, Texas to one of the largest and fastest growing female-led businesses in the US. The diverse and ever-growing range of services has put the business on the Austin Business Journal’s Fast 50 and the Inc. 5000 list for four-consecutive years. Under Kim’s leadership, Whim Hospitality has won local and national awards for their quality of service for rentals, florals, catering and event management. In addition to being named one of the top women business leaders in Central Texas by the Austin Business Journal, Kim was honoured with one of their Best CEO Awards in 2017. She also serves on several Austin-area tourist-industry organizations and non-profits.
About Whit Hanks
Whit founded a successful antiques business, specialising in architectural and international antiques in the mid-1980s while also working as real estate developer in the Central Texas region. He began acquiring property in the Dripping Springs area in 1985, started developing Camp Lucy in 2008, and co-founded Whim Hospitality with Kim in 2012. Whit’s sharp eye for beautiful heritage pieces has helped create the unique setting of the Camp Lucy resort and established Whim Hospitality as one of the premier event services providers in the US. In addition to his responsibilities at Whim and Camp Lucy, Whit serves as the co-founder and Chairman of Pioneer Bank and has served on the Historic Preservation Commission and Economic Development Committee for the City of Dripping Springs.