Outing to Coughton Court - Saturday 24th September

Familiar to some of our members but new to others this lesser known
establishment, Coughton Court ……pronounced (we are assured!)
“coe-ton”, is located just north of Stratford-on-Avon. The fine
Jacobean property had been in the hands of the same family, the
Throckmortons, for over 600-years before being acquired by the
National Trust on a 300-year lease in 1942. The extensive grounds
have been retained by the family and represent an award-winning added
attraction for visitors.

Our group of 42 members assembled at the usual collection points in
Marlow and for the first time, the Britannia pub and then set forth
towards Birmingham in our coach upon a relatively quiet M-40
motorway. Rain had been mentioned however, but failed to materialize
or to impact our enjoyment of the visit Upon arrival some distance
from the main house we were welcomed by one of the stewards before
disembarking and making our way to the kitchen area where a welcoming
cup of particularly nice coffee awaited us

The property, which is not particularly large, is constructed mainly from
sandstone from Evesham Abbey and brick and is dominated by two Tudor
towers integral with the main Gate House building. There is a large
collection of portraits hanging throughout the building depicting
members of the family through the various generations. It was
particularly gratifying to see furniture and memorabilia, which had
apparently always occupied the property.

The Throckmorton family had always been persecuted for their Catholic
faith and they risked everything on secret plots and political
intrigue, including the Gun Powder Plot. Before walking through the
property we were given a brief verbal history of the family and the
property, entitled appropriately …..”600-years in 16-minutes!”
maybe nearer 40-minutes actually.

Following our timed tours of the house, most were attracted to the kitchen
where we discussed the particular features of the house which we
admired most; was it the views from the roof, fantastic (!) or was it
the spiral staircases or perhaps the several priest holes or false
doors all reflecting the extraordinary life style of this family

After the lunch break most of us made our respective ways towards the
beautiful award-winning gardens even though during September it was
hardly surprising that the optimum displays were over. The walled
garden showed all the signs of beautiful displays and grandeur and
importantly horticultural knowledge. A gentle saunter through the
orchards ……. did you see the knitted animals(?) brought one back
to where the coach driver was patiently waiting for us adjacent to
the two churches, one Anglican and of course one Catholic, being
prepared for the forthcoming wedding of the latest generation of the
family!

A fascinating day was rounded off by a leisurely drive back to base,
courtesy of our driver, Dave.

Piers & Susan Flashman