Luxury Devon hotel firm goes bust with whopping debts

Langdon Court Manor, Down Thomas, Devon
-Credit: (Image: Contributed)

A company connected to Devon's luxury Langdon Court Manor hotel has gone bust with debts of more than £3m. Langdon Court Manor Ltd has gone into liquidation and will be wound up voluntarily.

Documents filed at Companies House reveal Langdon Court Manor Ltd, which states the nature of its business as “hotels and similar accommodation”, left realisable assets of £31,052 but owed unsecured creditors £3,147,096. The company’s statement of affairs, signed by director and co-owner Donna Thornton, said it is estimated that creditors will be left short of £3,116,045.

However, just over £3m of the debt is owed to Ms Thornton, her husband Robert Walton, and companies they control. Ms Thornton is listed among creditors and claiming £1,325,114, with Mr Walton claiming £67,842.

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The company House of Donna Ida Ltd, which makes wedding apparel and accessories and is owned by the couple, is asking for £1,373,362. Two companies controlled by Mr Walton, The Nth Degree Club Ltd and Young Chef Young Waiter Ltd are claiming £83,991 and £229,900 respectively.

Other creditors include Calor Gas, owed £2,869; Valda Energy, claiming £25,285; Vegepod, asking for £2,195, and Yu Energy, seeking £24,747. Plymouth creditors include One Point Hire and Sales, claiming £4,022; and Uni-Lec Contractors Ltd, asking for £7,764.

Plymouth’s Keith Elliott Construction Ltd is listed as owed £1. Langdon Court Manor Ltd has been embroiled in a legal dispute with Keith Elliott Construction and last month was ordered to pay the building firm £273,000, claimed for unpaid work, after a hearing at the High Court’s Technology and Construction Court division. This sum is not included on the list of creditors.

Ms Thornton has been approached by PlymouthLive for reaction to the liquidation but a representative replied without commenting on the company’s collapse.

In addition to liquidators at Begbies Traynor being appointed, a creditors’ liquidation committee was also appointed and includes both Ms Thornton and Mr Elliott. It follows a face-to-face meeting between Ms Thornton and the company’s creditors in Exeter on May 8.

Langdon Court Manor Ltd’s most recent accounts, for the year to June 2022, revealed net liabilities of £396,272. Mr Walton stepped down as a director on February 23 this year. Two days earlier the company registered a charge, borrowing money from the Cumberland Building Society.

Ms Thornton, often dubbed the “jean queen”, is founder of London’s Donna Ida fashion brand and has counted Amanda Holden and Jodie Kidd among her fans. With her 67-year-old husband they bought the Grade II* listed Langdon Court building, at Down Thomas, in 2021 after it had been closed for 18 months.

The Jacobean building is owned by the couple and is not among assets of Langdon Court Manor Ltd, which is also owned by Ms Thornton and Mr Walton. Ms Thornton has told PlymouthLive she intends to continue with her plans to renovate the manor and create a thriving business.

A newly launched website said that: “After a two-year-long refurbishment of this unique 16th Century manor house, Langdon Court reopened in Autumn 2023. Donna Ida Thornton and Robert Walton MBE have created an inviting country house hotel experience in the heart of the South West, with every aspect of this house providing luxury and comfort for guests. Langdon Court is an exclusive-use hotel for events and experience."

The collapse of Langdon Court Manor Ltd is not the first time a company associated with Ms Thornton has gone bust. In 2018, Donna Ida (Online) Ltd went into liquidation, three years after Donna Ida Ltd was dissolved after going into administration.

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