The current Coughton Court is an exceptional Tudor county house dating back to around 1510 and has been the residence of the fascinating and sometimes notorious Throckmorton family for 600 years.
The Throckmortons were Catholic recusants who stood by their faith during the worst of the Tudor persecutions and Coughton Court was often associated with anti-royalist plots and intrigues including the most famous of them all; the Gunpowder plot of 1605. The house has an extensive and crenelated front façade which conceals two significant wings that create a large rear courtyard enclosed on three sides. The focal point of the building is the magnificent Tudor Gatehouse located in the centre that links the two wings to create a large U-shaped if viewed from above. The gatehouse is designed in the English Renaissance style and features oriel windows and hexagonal turrets. It was dedicated to King Henry VIII. The front façade and gatehouse (header image) are clearly visible from the road.
The state features two churches, two separate gardens – one of which is fully walled, a partially enclosed courtyard planted with roses and a small lake to the southeast of the main house.
LOOKING FOR TROUBLE
How to annoy a King
Although a favourite at the court of King Henry VIII (8th), Sir George Throckmorton opposed the monarch’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon and resisted the national switch from Catholicism to Protestantism. His lack of compliance to the will of King Henry saw Throckmorton marginalised at court and even imprisoned for a period.
The Throckmorton Plot of 1583
Sir Francis Throckmorton and Sir Thomas Tresham conspired with the Spanish ambassador, Bernardino de Mendoza, to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I and replace her with Mary Stuart (Mary queen of Scots.) The plan was discovered and Sir Francis was executed for treason. He was the seventh son of Sir George Throckmorton of Coughton Court but was judged to have been acting without assistance of the family.
The Gunpowder Plot of 1605
In 1605 a group of Catholic revolutionaries attempted to blow up all of the British parliament of England together with King James I. With the king and the most powerful Protestants dead they believed they could organise a full rebellion and restore a Catholic monarch to the throne. The many barrels of gunpowder were smuggled into the basement of the House of Parliament by Guy Fawkes but were discovered before he could explode them. Government forces uncovered the names of the plotters and pursued them across the country. Thomas Bates, servant to Robert Catesby, fled to Coughton Court which had been used to store arms, horses and ammunition ready for the catholic revolt that was meant to follow the destruction of Parliament and warned the occupants of their failure. At least two of these men, Jesuit Father Garnet and Nicholas Owen were later executed.
Coughton sustained serious damage during the Civil War. The Throckmortons were by now staunch royalists and thus Coughton Court was soon attacked by Parliamentary forces. The house was eventually captured and ransacked. This would be the last time that Coughton Court featured at the heart of English conflicts.
For many years people believed that the Tapestry room was haunted by a ghost known as the Pink Lady. An exorcism was reportedly carried out in or around 1900 and she hasn’t been seen since.
There are a number of strange curiosities housed at Coughton Court. These include a chair made from the wood of the bed used by King Richard III the night before he was killed at the battle of Bosworth and a night shirt worn by Mary Queen of Scots shortly before her execution.
There is even a secret room known as a priest hide that was used to conceal visiting catholic priests if the houses was raided.
The original 1936 letter from King Edward VIII in which he abdicates the throne of Britain in order to continue his relationship and marry the American divorcee Mrs Wallis Simpson can also be viewed at Coughton Court.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Fieldhouse Lane, Romsley, Halesowen
West Midlands, England, B62 0NH
+44 (0)1562 710 015
- Address: A435, Alcester, Warwickshire, England, United Kingdom, B49 5JA
- GPS: 52.2436,-1.879638889
- Phone: 0044 (0)1789 400 777
- Part of UK: England
- Sat Nav Postcode: B49 5JA
- Entrance Fees: Yes
- Disabled Access: Very Good
- Visibility from Road: Excellent
- Image Credits: Header Image: Paul Vincent