Coughton Court is a lovely old stately home. It has elegantly furnished rooms, and manicured gardens. There are treasures there in abundance. From a chair made from the wood of the bed Richard III slept in on the night before the battle of Bosworth Field, to a priest’s robe purportedly made by Catherine of Aragon, via a tapestry detailing the locations of all the noble gentlemen held prisoner for the crime of being Catholic in the reign of Elizabeth I.
What interested the children the most was the wax model of Sir Walter Raleigh’s head, sitting in a bag on a chair in the drawing room. Mr 5 took some persuading to touch it to see that it wasn’t real! The main giveaway was the hair which has gone the way of beloved Barbie dolls the world over.
So far, so typical for National Trust stately homes.
Snowshill manor is a different kettle of fish entirely.
Charles Paget Wade owned Snowshill Manor. I am sure that if he lived today, and was not wealthy from the inheritance of a sugar plantation in the West Indies, he’d be appearing on The Hoarder Next Door. He had the luxury of being able to afford beautiful objects, and a manor in which to house them, while he chose to live in a little cottage in the grounds.
We knew nothing of this, and weren’t prepared for what was inside the house, expecting another elegantly furnished home, much like others we have seen. We weren’t expecting a room full of models in Samurai armour. Or the room full of spinning wheels. Or the attic being crammed with bicycles and pushchairs. If you like Chinese cabinets, there are quite a few. Old locks and keys? Yes. Mandolins? Clocks? Looms? Moroccan style lampshades? Javanese masks? Perhaps beetles with iridescent shells in glass jars is more your thing.
The girls loved the exquisite dolls houses with perfect miniature furniture, made to match real rooms. Mr PC liked the inner workings of the Armada chest. I don’t think I could pick a favourite item. It was rather overwhelming, seeing it all in one go, at the rate of the most impatient child. It’s a place you would definitely want to go back to repeatedly, to focus on one small area, rather than trying to absorb the whole. It is an amazing collection. Well worth a visit.