A Tudor House
Coughton Court, a Tudor house, has been in the ownership of the Throckmorton family since the 15th century. On either side of the main house are 2 wings, thus the house forms a U shape. The house has remained almost unchanged since construction. Although under the ownership of the National Trust, the family still live in the house.
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The family were strong supporters of the Catholic church. During the reign of Henry VIII and later Catholics were punished so secrecy was needed. Coughton Courtís stone gatehouse was constructed c 1530. In the wall was a priestís hole. Another priest hole, in the house, is just large enough for sleeping. A partition to pass food into the priest still exists today.
The family history reflects the Catholic persuasion. In 1529 Sir George Throckmorton spent time in the tower of London for opposing Henry VIIIís plans to divorce Catherine of Aragon. In 1583 Francis Throckmorton tried to encourage the Spanish to invade England and make Mary Queen of Scots the ruler. He was executed as a result. In 1604 Sir Everard Digby rented the house but was executed for his role in the Gunpowder plot. There is an exhibition on the 1605 plot.
On a tour of the house you can see a chemise supposedly worn by Mary Queen of Scots on the day she was executed. A chair is purported to contain wood from Richard IIIís bed used before the battle of Bosworth. An original letter of King Edward VIIIís abdication is on show. In the blue drawing room and on the staircase wall are portraits. The dining room and the tapestry bedroom are included in the tour. There are collections of furniture and porcelain in the house.
In the grounds are a walled garden with displays of roses, a series of garden rooms, and two herbaceous borders; a formal courtyard garden; a bog garden; an orchard; and walks along the river Arrow. An organic garden provides produce for the restaurant. During the season there is a bluebell wood. A new feature in 2005 is a daffodil garden with American Throckmorton varieties. Special event days are held during the open season.
Two miles north Alcester, Warwickshire, B49 5JA (on the A435)
Tel. office at 01789 400777, infoline at 01789 762435
Open: house, gardens, walled garden, shop, and restaurant open various times and days between March and end Oct; check Coughton Court website or National Trust guidebook for full details. Phone info line as house sometimes closed for functions.
Owned by the National Trust.
Website: Coughton Court