Texan couple acquires second Malmesbury property

By Nick Batten on 2 November, 2021

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 1st 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.

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 added, “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.”

Legal, commercial and strategic advice was provided by Thrings, which also completed the acquisition of The Old Bell Hotel in April.

The team was led by partner Alex Pinhey, who was assisted on real estate matters by paralegal Emma Stratford. The corporate aspects of the purchase were handled by partner John Davies, with specialist planning advice provided by senior associate Fred Quartermain.

Pictured above: Kim and Whit Hanks, the new owners of Abbey House & Gardens, Malmesbury