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Our work at Coughton Court

A member of the house team cleans furniture at Tyntesfield, Somerset, using a small brush to remove dust into a cloth
Caring for the collection | © National Trust Images/Rob Stothard

Caring for Coughton goes on all year round with much of the work being done behind the scenes. From deep cleans and keeping accurate records to protecting the landscape and restoring treasures with your support, find out more about our work at Coughton.

Deep clean

Over the closed winter period the house team conduct a deep clean of the house and its collection, completing big jobs which it isn’t possible to complete while open such as checking all the books in the Saloon and waxing the floors.

The team work through each room, cleaning it from top to bottom. Cleaning requires lots of different brushes depending on the item being cleaned and jobs such as dusting the paintings which requires specialist training.

While they clean the team are also checking the condition of the items and whether there has been any damage or deterioration.

Collection database

Every year an inventory check is also completed. The team will go through each room in the house ensuring that all the items in the collection are where they should be.

Items are often moved for conservation or display reasons and when that happens the record on the digital collections database needs to be updated. Updates are made throughout the year, but the annual check allows for a full, thorough check.

Recording the collection conditions in the Dining Room at Hughenden Manor, Buckinghamshire
Keeping the records up to date | © National Trust Images/Gill Sandford

Accurate records

The team are always looking to improve their collection management standards, ensuring improved cataloguing of the collection, photographing it and inventory-marking objects.

Every few years the items in storage are also checked and photographed to aid with identification and condition checking.

Pest management

Traps are positioned around the house to check for the presence of pests which could damage the collection. These traps are checked quarterly to monitor the levels of certain pests such as moths, carpet beetles, silverfish and furniture beetles.

By checking quarterly, the team can identify trends and hopefully catch a growing problem before it gets too big. It also tells the team whether it’s too damp or humid.

Restoration projects

Alongside the daily and annual cleaning, larger conservation projects have also taken place to help protect and restore Coughton. Often this work is supported by onsite fundraising such as raffle ticket sales.

Detail of the oak dole gate from the Convent of Denny, in the Dining Room at Coughton Court, Warwickshire. The dole gate is inscribed with the name of Elizabeth Throckmorton, the last Abbess at the time of its dissolution in 1539.
Oak dole gate from the Convent of Denny | © National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Dole Gate

The Dole Gate was originally set in the front door of Denny Abbey, Cambridgeshire and used to pass items to travellers who sought food and alms from the nuns. Elizabeth Throckmorton (d.1547) was the last Abbess of the convent, her name is carved into the gate. When Denny Abbey was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539, Elizabeth brought the remaining few nuns with her to Coughton, the home of her nephew George, where they spent their final years. The Dole Gate was recently stabilised by specialists.

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Thank you

With your ongoing support, we're able to continue our vital conservation work. Thank you for helping to protect these special places.

The sixteenth-century Gate Tower on the West Front at Coughton Court, with a row of pyramid-shaped topiary hedges and a lawn at the front


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