Croome Court a short history

Croome court in the evening light

The principal building at Croome, Croome Court, had been the home of the Coventry family since the 16th century, though the building in its current form was started in 1751.

The Mansion House at Croome Court

The 6th Earl set about transforming the red brick, 17th-century house of his ancestors, but he didn’t knock it down, perhaps for reasons of economy or sentiment.  Instead he used it as a template, altering and refacing it in the Palladian style, using the old foundations and keeping some of the walls that form the central spine of the house.  That is why, unlike many other Palladian mansions, Croome Court does not occupy a commanding position up on high ground, such as where the Church now stands.  

St Mary Magdalene Church on Church Hill
St Mary Magdalene Church

Brown added new turreted wings at each end and a magnificent Palladian portico was built on the southern side.  Traces of the original building can still be seen inside and the chimneystacks from the older building are visible above the roof.

Coade stone Sphinx at Croome
Coade stone Sphinx at Croome

Interesting times

In 1948, the Croome Estate Trust had to sell Croome Court, along with almost all of its original furniture and fittings.  The 10th Earl had been killed on the retreat to Dunkirk in 1940 and with maintenance costs rising and agriculture depressed, the upkeep of Croome Court could no longer be supported by the great estate surrounding it.  

After the Second World War, Croome Court was used as a school (1950s-1979) and later (1979-84) as the UK headquarters for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.  

Hare Krishna at Croome Court
Hare Krishna at Croome

It was then not lived in for 12 years, subsequently it was bought and sold by a succession of property developers, who tried, unsuccessfully, to turn Croome into a country club, hotel and a golf course.  In 1998 another property developer turned the house into a private home once more, living here with his family.

1990's bath
1990 bath

A new start

In October 2007, Croome Court, now suffering after years of neglect, was bought by the Croome Heritage Trust. They took the property on in partnership with the National Trust, which undertook to run and repair it.  The house opened to the public on 26 September 2009 and the Heritage Trust have since extended the lease to the National Trust for 999 years.  

The scaffold at Croome Court
Croome scaffold at the court

Blank canvas

With about four-fifths of its collection absent, Croome Court isn’t presented as a traditional National Trust property.  Instead, rooms are used to present temporary exhibitions and installations created by up-and-coming artists, craftspeople and designers continuing the 6th Earl’s legacy of nurturing new talent.

Visitor walking through 'The Golden Box'
Visitor walking through 'The Golden Box'