Friday, 4 December 2020

Coughton Court

Having left home in glorious bright end of November sunshine we were surprised to discover Coughton Court surrounded by a mist which appeared to be rising from the R. Arrow, a river which runs along the periphery of the property. On reflection, it was the perfect setting for a building that holds an historic place in England for its roles in both the 1583 Throckmorton Plot to murder Queen Elizabeth 1, and the 1605 Gunpowder Plot. 
Coughton Court is home to the Throckmorton family, and has been for over 600 years.
As we ventured along the riverside walk glimmers of sunshine gradually started appearing through the mist.
Several tributaries travel across the estates land on their way to meet up and join the R. Arrow.
In 1583, Francis Throckmorton devised a plot, being just one of a series of attempts by English Roman Catholics, to depose Queen Elizabeth l of England. They wanted to replace her with Mary Queen of Scots who at the time was being held under house arrest in Carlisle Castle. However, the plot failed as a result of intelligence and surveillance, Francis was duly arrested, and executed the following year.
When it came to the Gunpowder Plot 22 years later, the then owner of Coughton Court, Thomas Throckmorton, prudently went abroad with all of his family having first let the house out to one of the plot's chief conspirators, Sir Everard Digby.  Apart from acting as a safe house for Jesuit priests, it was also used for hoarding arms, ammunition and horses, ready for the uprising that was meant to follow the assassination of James l and his Government.
At the back of the house is an Elizabethan style garden courtyard, which was designed by the then owner Clare McLaren-Throckmorton and her daughter Christina in 1992. It's an attractive area, which admirably compliments the surrounding Tudor architecture.
As the day brightened and the mist dispersed it was possible to admire and appreciate the fine Tudor Gatehouse being the main entrance to the property. It's hexagonal turrets and oriel windows are designed in the early English Renaissance style.
This is the oldest part of the house - 1536, but it is flanked by later wings designed in what became known as Strawberry Hill Gothic, popularised by Horace Walpole.
click here to see Walpole's house

51 comments:

  1. Those misty shots are so in keeping with the Hall's murky history. I'm not sure about the "Strawberry hill" gothic but certainly I admire the rest of the building.

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    1. Roman catholics were treated appallingly during the Reformation and beyond, so I do recognise their desperation.

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    1. Dziękuję - cieszę się, że je polubiłeś

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  3. Hello Rosemary, It is difficult to enlarge an important building. If you copy the original style, it is unlikely to get the proportions and materials exactly matching, and even then it is "fake" in its own way. However, adding a new style can be jarring, however much its proponents say it "complements" the original architecture. I like the Gothic Revival additions here, but admit they would look better in a building of their own.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - it is pleasing to me that this Gatehouse is still standing at Coughton Court, is intact, and has been for almost 500 years. Buildings from that time period could have been completely destroyed or even demolished.

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  4. It boggles the mind a little that different factions of the same religion, worshipping the same alleged god from the same sacred text have safe houses, store arms and plot assassinations. Didn't I once hear something about "Thou shalt not kill"?

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    1. Throughout history many, many violent acts have been carried out in the name of religion.

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  5. Well, weren't the Throckmortons a pesky bunch of conspirators and traitors!

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    1. We feel that we are living through difficult times at the moment, but 500 years ago persecution, violence, disease and poverty were part of every day life for the majority of people.

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  6. Beautiful building and grounds. THanks so much for the history lesson. Religious persecution has always made me wonder where their sanity was...and I'm descended from a Martyr who helped translate the Bible into English. Bloody Mary had him burned at the stake.

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    1. It appears that throughout the history of the world there has always been religious persecution, and is still happening today. You appear to have a very interesting ancestry.

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  7. How beautiful! Can you imagine calling such a place home? Question: have some of those Throckmortons come to the US. We've got a pesky bunch of conspirators and traitors here lately.

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    1. That is an interesting questions which I honestly do not know.

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  8. Lovely to hear the history of such a beautiful building. Looks like you had a perfect day. Wonderful photos. B x

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    1. We have had some lovely sunny blue sky days, even today, but it is very cold.

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  9. That is an imposant building - and an impressing history! I love especially the first "misty" photo (are that willows over the water, I am not sure) - though of course the other photos are a gift for us: we walk around with you, though we have to stay home... XX

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    1. Yes, I am sure that they are willows Britta - they remind me of a William Morris design called 'Willow Bough' which he design for wallpaper and fabrics.

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  10. I've noticed mist does tend to linger much longer over river valleys and often hides in woods. Gliders notice it too with upward rising thermals over open fields, towns, and hill ridges but the opposite effect over rivers and woods. Nice building.

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    1. I suspect that you are right, we live high up on the brow of a Cotswold ridge, and Coughton Court is situated on low lying ground.

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  11. Dearest Rosemary,
    A beautiful escape, starting with some fog but also its history is kind of 'foggy'...
    That solitary tree is a DREAM so well captured in all its majesty.
    Also the lane with trees near that Jesuit safe house.
    What a grim and bloody history we often encounter amidst the beautiful surroundings of nature and great architecture.
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - we think that life is tough today especially now, but it is a doddle compared to life 500 years ago. Even those with great wealth could not sleep soundly in their beds. There was always some conspiracy or persecution awaiting for them around every corner. Disease too, was a constant reminder of just how fragile life was.

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  12. Love the first photo of the miss through the tree, good capture on that one but all the photos are good.
    Interesting history attached to the home and I've actually heard of those 2 instances.

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    1. Thanks Margaret - glad you enjoyed the photos.

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  13. Another fascinating building with it's interesting history , really like the photo with the back yard garden which compliments the building so well .

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    1. I love that courtyard - lovely to look at and easy to keep.

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    1. It is wonderful that it is still such a fine building after 500 years.

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  15. The mist certainly adds atmosphere to a magnificent house, one which has seen some very dramatic adventures in the past. What a beautiful gatehouse, and I really love the Elizabethan garden too. Thank you for sharing another fascinating piece of history with us.

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    1. We are fortunate that we can still visit NT gardens but only if you book online and arrive at a particular time. It makes so much difference to your day if you can venture out safely away from your own four walls.

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  16. Hello, Rosemary. Mist makes photos atmospheric. Misty morning guarantees warm, sunny daytime. Right? What a magnificent structure with interesting history! The hexagonal turrets and oriel windows are so beautiful.

    Yoko

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    1. Hello Yoko - sometimes mists linger longer, but as you can see on this particular day it lifted quickly and revealed a beautiful day. I love those hexagonal turrets and the beautiful oriel windows too.

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  17. That's a beautiful and very impressive gatehouse. It would inspire awe in those who entered. I'm glad the family was able to hang onto their property given the various plots they engaged in. The contrast between the foggy photos and the clear ones is lovely.

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    1. The Reformation was a terrible period in our history. The Throckmorton's were one of the richest recusant Catholic families, but despite financial penalties for being Catholic, they managed to retain their lands and added to them through inheritance.

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  18. You are so fortunate to be getting in some glorious house & garden visits! This is another beauty, and a fascinating family history, to boot.

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    1. We are grateful that we have so many gardens and properties here on our doorstep. Currently there is no entry into the properties themselves, but we can explore the gardens and the surrounding area as long as we prebook a timed entry online.

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  19. I have to say that I am very pleased that the family managed to hang on to this beautiful house - so often I'm reading about wonderful places and find they were knocked down in the 1920s or the 1950/60s, both of which seem to have been dreadful times for historic homes. I'm glad you had such a glorious day for it too. It's the sort of post that makes one want to go and explore England, even in November!

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    1. The Throckmorton family were a highly influential Roman Catholic family who were persecuted during the Reformation. We think that life is difficult today, but it bares no comparison to our ancestors lives hundreds of years ago.
      I am pleased that they retained this lovely home too, but it is surprising just how many catholic families actually did hang on to their wealth and property.

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  20. What an amazing place.
    Great photos.
    Hugs

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  21. I love to read of history and see photos of the actual places mentioned. Lovely post, so interesting.

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    1. Thank you for your visit and kind comment.

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  22. I am still trying to wrap my head around a family owning a home for that length of time. That is amazing. Enjoyed reading the history and as usual the photos are beautiful.

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    1. Glad that you enjoyed reading about Coughton Court Janey.

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  23. Another amazing place and a lovely, interesting post Rosemary!
    Take care!
    Love Titti

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    1. You take care Titti - I am pleased that you found it interesting too.

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  24. Hello dear Rosemary,
    Wonderful post, very interesting to read and lovely photo's.
    Have a wonderful new week ahead and stay safe!!

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    1. Nice to hear from you Marijke - it was a lovely day out for us - be safe.

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