Coughton Court in Warwickshire, fifteen miles from Stratford-on-Avon, is the ancestral home of the Throckmortons, one of the UK’s oldest catholic families and a place of great intrigue during the time of religious persecution. It still possesses some of the best concealed ‘priest holes’ in the country.
It also boasts a beautiful walled garden, worth visiting in its own right…
The name Coughton (pronounce “Coat-un”) is believed to mean a settlement or farm known for the hunting of game birds. I’m no fan of the hunting-shooting-fishing brigade but I can separate out the experience of the beautiful gardens from such traditions.
It is believed that there was a medieval house on the site when John de Throckmorton arrived in 1409 to marry into the de Spiney family. Since that time, Coughton Court has been home to the Throckmortons, one of the UK’s oldest catholic families and a major name in the City of London’s development as one of the world’s most important financial centres.
Coughton Court still has many of its original features including its flamboyant sixteenth-century gate tower. It is one of the last remaining Roman Catholic houses in the country to retain its historic treasures, housing one of the very best collections of portraits and memorabilia of one family from the early Tudor times.
Alongside family items on display, there are pieces such as the chemise reputedly worn by Mary Queen of Scots when she was executed and a bishop’s Cope, with intricate needlework, believed to have been worked upon by Catherine of Aragon.
I will do a separate post on the interior of the house. We were so impressed with the gardens, I felt it was worth a photo-tour, if only to show the best of the photos taken on the day.
Coughton Court was gifted to the National Trust in 1946 by the Throckmortons, the family continues to live there, extending a staggering six centuries of unbroken tradition.
©Stephen Tanham 2022
Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being.