Cottesbrooke Hall is a 1702-12 Queen Anne house with a famous equestrian picture collection, the Woolavington collection. Paintings are by Stubbs, Ben Marshall and Alfred Munnings as well as other artists. There are many bronzes as well. English and French furniture and porcelain are also on show.
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The house was designed by Francis Smith of Warwick. In the late 18th century east and west bows were added to the house. One room has rococo papier mache wall decoration. The house is supposed to have served as the model for Jane Austen’s “Mansfield Park”. It is still a lived-in house.
18th century formal landscaped gardens surround the hall. There are 300 year old cedars, a 65 metre long double herbaceous border, pools, a lily pond, and a formal parterre garden on the south front.
The wild garden is planted along a stream with cascades and small bridges. Acers and rhododendrons as well as bamboos and gunneras set off the area. The gardens give a sense of different rooms. There are pergolas, statues and rose borders. The gardens won the HHA/Christie Garden of the Year award.
In the grounds is a lake over which is a bridge. Nearby at the village of Brixworth is a 7th century church.
Cottesbrooke Hall and Gardens
Ten miles north of Northampton
Northamptonshire, East Midlands
On the A5199 near Brixworth and Kelmarsh between Rugby and Kettering, off the A14
Tel. 0 1604 505 808
Open: May and June, Wed and Thu, 2-5.30pm; July, Aug, and Sep, Thu, 2-5.30pm; also open BH Mon from May-Sep, 2-5.30pm; closed week before plant fair each year in June
Historic Houses Association member; parking; special events; tea-room
Web: Cottesbrooke Hall and Gardens
Photos and text © by Barbara Ballard