Visiting the house at Coughton Court
- 21 July 2022
Coughton Court has been home to the Throckmorton family for over six centuries, and they still live here today. On a visit to Coughton, you can wander around most of the house, enjoy the fascinating collections and discover some of the family's secrets.
The house is now closed for winter.
The house is now closed for winter. We look forward to welcoming you back on 10 February 2024.
Project work at Coughton Court
Throughout the summer months visitors noticed lots of projects starting to take shape around the stable yard, café and the house here at Coughton.
Firstly, we have installied a new fire alarm system, bringing our current system up to date with the latest model. This essential work will help to protect the house, collections, and the people that live, work, volunteer and visit here for years to come.
Also, during this time, the team moved and packed collection items in the house as we prepare for another exciting project which started in the autumn.
We now have a dedicated page 'Through the Roof Project - Future pROOFing Coughton' which we be updating regularly with news and updates on the projects as they progress as well as updates on what you can expect from your visit.
Every penny spent at Coughton helps us to look after and support the care of this special place. Thank you for your support.
Things to see in the house
Each generation to live in the house made their mark, creating the place we see today. Here are some of the rooms you can explore during your visit, and some interesting highlights to look out for including our theme for the year "Creatures of Coughton"
Creatures of Coughton
From enormous elephants to devoted dogs, animals are woven into Coughton’s collection, and we’re delighted to announce that our house theme for this year, ‘Creatures of Coughton’ is in place and ready for visitors to enjoy.
Discover stories of companionship, heraldry, farming and scientific interest, as well as more debated topics, like hunting and the use of animal-derived materials. These stories reveal how people have perceived and benefitted from the natural world over time.
Coughton was once alive with the sounds, smells and sights of creatures. Steaming horses clattered through the archway into the stableyard, hounds bounded across the parkland chasing idle rabbits and the fishponds teemed with shimmering trout.
Now, the historic herd of sheep graze quietly in the front park and longhorn cattle amble across the back meadows. The peaceful parkland is a refuge for deer, foxes and stoat while the river is visited by a striking kingfisher and recently otters.
We now have a few activities for children connected to the theme in the house. The favourite one at the moment seems to be the origami. Can you make a Coughton creature?
The Front Hall
The Front Hall is the start of a visit to the house at Coughton. It originally served as the gatehouse passageway and was open at both ends.
In the 1780s, the 4th Baronet turned it into a room decorated in the Gothic style. The ceiling was given a fine fan vault and the walls lined out to resemble masonry, although the whole effect was in fact created from plaster rather than stone.
On your visit, you may be lucky enough to hear the longcase clock chime. It was a 21st birthday present to Sir Robert Throckmorton, 11th Baronet, in 1929.
The Tower Room
This was probably converted into a makeshift Chapel during Elizabethan times as it was a good vantage point to watch and ensure that they were not discovered during secret Mass.
Above the Tower Room is the roof, that is currently closed.
Portraits along the staircase
The staircase acts as a family tree, with many portraits showing several generations of the Throckmorton family. The earliest are at the bottom and the later generations are shown nearer the top.
The portrait straight ahead as you climb the first flight is of Katherine Vaux who with her husband, Sir George Throckmorton, had 19 children and 112 grandchildren.
Specialist movers have been busy moving all the paintings from the staircase into the racking in the dining room.
Panelled Dining Room
In Elizabethan times, this was probably the great chamber, the principal first-floor reception room, where the Throckmorton's would have entertained important guests.
The room is thought to have become the Dining Room in the early nineteenth century, which cannot have been popular with the household staff, as the kitchen was almost 100 metres away at the opposite corner of the building. Look out for the sixteenth century panelling and oak dole-gate from the convent of Denny.
The family portraits from the staircase have now all been moved into the dining room and placed on specialist conservation racking to keep them safe.
Catholic relics in the Tribune
This room embodies the Throckmorton family’s journey from danger to triumph. Throughout the 1500s and 1600s, the Catholic relics that can be seen here would have been hidden away from public view. Their discovery would have put their owners’ lives at certain risk.
With Catholic Emancipation in 1829, the family were at last free to display their beliefs and their treasures openly, for all to see.
A Tudor Saloon
In the Tudor house this was the great hall, where the whole household would have gathered to eat or be entertained on special occasions. It served as a covert chapel between 1688, when the east wing was ransacked, and 1855, when the Catholic chapel in the park was completed.
The portraits are largely of nineteenth and twentieth century Throckmorton's including Sir John Throckmorton. This room is still used for family celebrations and is also used by the National Trust for functions. The famous Throckmorton coat can be found in here.
Blue Drawing Room
The Blue Drawing Room is on the first floor of the gatehouse, the oldest surviving part of Coughton Court. When new in the 1530s, it would have been one of the most important rooms in the house.
Legend has it that on the 6 November 1605 Lady Digby, the young wife of Gunpowder Plot collaborator, Sir Everard, two Jesuit priests, Fathers Garnet and Tesimond and Nicholas Owen, the man who built the priest hole in the tower, sat in this room waiting to hear the outcome of the conspiracy.
The droplets from the chandeliers have been removed and cleaned up ready for rehanging at the end of the project
The Tapestry Bedroom is part of the extension added to the main house by Sir Francis Throckmorton (2nd Baronet) during the late 1600s. Sir Francis inherited Coughton when he was just 9 years old.
Look out for the huge wardrobe known as an armoire, made from walnut during the 1600s, the half tester bed, made from mahogany dating to the Victorian period and the tapestry fragments.
Coughton Court is home to a number of historic items. Take a closer look at two of the most important items in the collection – the Throckmorton coat and the Tabula Eliensis.
Twenty-one generations of the Throckmorton family have lived at Coughton since 1409. Over six centuries there are many stories to tell, including that of the gunpowder plot.
The Throckmorton family created and manages the award-winning garden at Coughton. Highlights include the walled garden, lake, knot garden, vegetable garden, orchard and bog garden.
Caring for Coughton goes on all year round, much of it behind the scenes. Find out more about the work being done to protect and restore Coughton and its treasures.
Visit Coughton Court for family-friendly events and activities in the house and garden, including woodland walks and wildlife spotting.
Find out more about why there are two churches at Coughton Court and the story they have to tell of the Throckmorton family’s persecution for their adherence to the Catholic faith.
Historic buildings are a treasure trove of stories, art and collections. Learn more about what makes these places so special and plan your visit.