Coughton Court's top facts

A view looking down the priest hole at Coughton Court
Imagine having to hide in here National Trust Images / Andreas von Einsiedel

With 600 hundred years of history Coughton has many interesting facts, read on to discover just some of them.

Where did you get that hat?

The hats in the entrance hall have been collected by Mrs McLaren-Throckmorton on her travels around the world with her late husband, and then more recently by her butler Karl.
The most recent addition is a fez from Egypt.

Head over heels in love

Bess Throckmorton, the daughter of Anne Carew and Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, was Lady-in-Waiting to Queen Elizabeth I. She secretly married Sir Walter Raleigh in 1591 – much to the fury of the Queen. They were both sent to the Tower of London.
When Raleigh was executed in 1618 Bess was rumoured to carry his embalmed head around with her in a red leather sack.

Throckmorton matriarch

Katherine Vaux who married Sir George Throckmorton in the early 16th century was the aunt of Katherine Parr, the 6th and final wife of Henry VIII.
She had no fewer than 19 children and 112 grandchildren.

Water, water everywhere

Coughton used to have a moat but it was filled in during changes and improvements made to the house in the 18th century by Sir Robert Throckmorton, 4th Baronet.  it is said that the ladies of the house would fish from their bedroom windows.
The house was surrounded by water again in 2007 when Coughton Court flooded for the second time in 10 years.

Lords and ladies

The Baronetcy title was created in 1642. It continued in the family for 352 years until the 12th baronet, Sir Anthony, died without an heir in 1994.  
Sir Anthony was born in 1916 and lived in America, where he was a Catholic priest. He was granted a papal dispensation to marry Violet Anderson.

Risky hide and seek

Coughton’s 16th-century priest hole was only rediscovered in the Tower Room in 1858. When it was fully opened up in 1910 still inside were a rope ladder, a small tapestry, bedding and a folding leather altar.
The double hide meant that if anyone chanced upon the first empty compartment, it was unlikely that they would have found the second compartment below, where the priest would have been hiding.

An ancient forest

Like neighbouring properties Baddesley Clinton and Packwood House, Coughton was set in the once great Forest of Arden.
There is a medieval stone cross in the corner of the front park at Coughton and according to local tradition, travellers prayed here for safe passage through the forest.

The big gamble

The 1,000 guinea bet laid down by Sir John Throckmorton for the making of the Throckmorton Coat equates to around £64,000 today.