Lady of Lawrence Boutique Bed and Breakfast in Lawrence, Otago, New Zealand
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History & Testimonials


“If you are looking for a boutique bed and breakfast in Lawrence, certainly don’t look past Lady of Lawrence. I stayed there recently and really enjoyed the excellent hospitality provided by owner Verity Wolf. The early 1900s-villa has been tastefully refurbished with each room having its own ensuite.  A great place to relax, whether it be in the lounge or a walk around the beautifully landscaped grounds.”
Todd Barclay, MP for Clutha-Southland. 2017
"Want to again just say how in awe we are of the fabulously tasteful and thoughtful efforts you have made to provide a beautiful experience. I will definitely be promoting your stay to my colleagues as they travel your way." 
Mavis Mullins May 2016
"Historic Lawrence house The Sycamores, presided over by the vivacious Verity Wolf aka the Lady of Lawrence, has got that lovely balance between Victorian grandeur and contemporary coziness. It feels like you're having a luxurious boutique B&B treat without the overwhelming price tag.  Congratulations Verity, on the painstaking effort you've put it, to make this amazing house still feel like a home."  
Mary Josephine Tohill, 2016
"Boutique B&B verges on understatement. This 1912 grand villa is a visual masterpiece. The grounds and interior have been tastefully refurbished by the enthusiastic owner, Verity Wolf. Her attention to detail is impressive. A bottle of Port awaits for a pleasant nightcap. Décor reflects the proprietor's equestrian interests. Rooms have en-suits for added independence. Breakfast complements the overall quality of the accommodation. It would ideally suit couples wanting a brief escape along with those hardy people completing the Roxburgh Gorge and Clutha Gold cycle trails. They can celebrate. The premises is within walking distance of the town with its classy café and restaurant." 
Roy Sinclair, 2016

Original Home Builder and Family
Mr Archibald McKinlay  (1826 - 1910)

Mr McKinlay was born in Scotland and became an apprentice in the drapery trade.  He decided to immigrate to Australia in 1853 with his friend Edward Herbert.  They then both travelled to Tuapeka in Otago NZ and found prospecting for gold in Gabriel’s Gully quite lucrative, discovering $2000 worth in 1861.  They bought a goods store and used contacts back in Scotland to supply drapes, groceries, hardware, timber and wine. It was very successful supplying many smaller stores in the region.

Mr McKinlay built “The Sycamores”(now Lady of Lawrence) in three stages from approximately 1860. The brick addition was completed in 1902.   Archibald had eight children with his wife, Catherine; John, William, Mary, Margaret, James, Archibald, John (Jack) and Frances. He is described as a man “of stirling character and strict probity in all matters”. He was also a strong supporter of the Presbyterian Church.

A photo of Mr McKinlay has been placed at the Peel Street entrance door.

Following his death in 1910, his three maiden daughters lived at the property. By the 1960’s the house was gifted to the Presbyterian Church for use as a manse. The Devereaux family from Dunedin owned the property after this and it was primarily used as a holiday home. Around 2003  the Rohan family purchased the property and undertook major renovations to include B&B accommodation plus a large garage workshop and boiler room. After this  the house was placed on the market and purchased by Ms Verity Wolf on April 9th 2015. Verity spent months  re-decorating the house to provide a more boutique B&B accommodation but after three years sold the property in November 2018.

The new owners Rolf and Kathleen Lilleby, originally from Auckland and Scotland respectively have purchased the property and are the new hosts of  The Lady of Lawrence.


Reference: Thank you to Otago & Southland Heritage houses by Rodney Wells and Tessa Ward for information on the history of the property.  Thank you to Rodney for allowing the beautiful sketches of the property to be used.