Visitors have helped us restore one of our most treasured items

Dole gate at Coughton Court, Warwickshire

In 2019 for our raffle project we have managed to fundraise to conserve one of Coughton’s most treasured items; the Dole Gate. We will keep you in touch with progress and let you know on it's return. Thanks to all who bought raffle tickets.

The Dole Gate was originally set in the front door of Denny Abbey in Cambridgeshire and was used to pass food to travellers who sought food and alms from the nuns along their journey. The top hatch was used for conversation, and the bottom one for passing through food – a charitable meal known as a dole.

You can see the need for restoration
Dole Gate at Coughton Court, Warwickshire
You can see the need for restoration


Elizabeth Throckmorton (d. 1547) was the last Abbess of the convent, and her name is carved into the gate. When Denny Abbey was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539, the property was taken by the Crown and redistributed. Elizabeth brought the remaining few nuns with her to Coughton, the home of her nephew George.

Elisabeth Throgmarton
Dole gate at Coughton Court, Warwickshire
Elisabeth Throgmarton

Elizabeth and her fellow nuns spent their final years enclosed in an upper room here at Coughton, observing their religious life as much as possible. They are buried in the Catholic Church, and the dole gate acts as a poignant reminder of how Catholic ways of life were torn apart and driven underground by the religious persecution practised in England during the period.

Dole gate in current display position
Dole gate at Coughton Court, Warwickshire
Dole gate in current display position

We have raised money to stabilise the dole gate’s very fragile areas. It is estimated that it will cost £5,500 to conserve the Dole Gate and buying a raffle ticket directly helped us to preserve this unique piece of history.