Press "Enter" to skip to content

Historic Grade I country manor goes on the market for £5million

It’s the magnificent country house which played home to Robert Downey Jr’s Dr Dolittle in this year’s box-office movie about the Welshman who can talk to animals.

And you’d be also be barking to want to sell Cothay Manor, although it has now been put on the market for a cool £5million because the owner wants to downsize. 

The Grade I-listed estate near Wellington, Somerset, is steeped in history stretching back to the 1400s and has been heralded as the finest medieval manor in England. 

The impressive brick buildings are nestled in thick forestry, but the entire estate sprawls over 40 acres of countryside through which a stream flows.  

Inside the manor, the medieval finishes remain well conserved and the interior has lots of fine late 15th and early 16th century features.

It has a stunning Great Hall, which has lots of original features including the faintly visible painting of the medieval house.

The 500-year-old front door has its original wooden lock-case and 10.5in key and the dining room is panelled in oak with a fine carved chimneypiece and stone fireplace.

In the Winter Parlour there is a hidden spiral staircase behind the wood panelling leading to the Great Chamber, which has grand oak beams and a 14th century oculus window.

In the Guest Chamber there are wall paintings uncovered in the 1920s and in the Gold Room there is a 500-year-old fresco depicting the Madonna and Child.

In medieval times the rent for the surrounding land was a pair of silver spurs and a rose. Over the years it has been home to many wealthy families – the de Cothay family and the Bluetts.

In the 1920s it belonged to Colonel Reginald Cooper, a contemporary of revered architect Edwin Lutyens, who laid out the gardens.

It then belonged to Sir Francis Cook, 4th Baronet, and during the Second World War, Cothay housed much of his famous art collection, which was dispersed after the war.

Mary Anne Robb and her late husband Alastair bought the property in the early 1990s when it was in need of renovation.

They gutted and rebuilt the gardens along Cooper’s original design and added some new areas including an arboretum, a wildflower meadow and a lake.

They have rented out some parts and run it as a visitor attraction with garden and house tours and hiring the property out as a venue for weddings and other celebrations but Mrs Robb is now looking to downsize.

There is also a tea room, shop, stables, swimming pool and barn complex. The main house forms an L-shape with a wall and the gatehouse creating a square around the courtyard.

In total the house has over 15,000 sq ft of living space. As well as five bedrooms in the main house and another four in the attached north wing, there are also two cottages and three flats. 

A spokesman for Knight Frank said: ‘Cothay Manor is an outstanding example of a late medieval hall house surrounded by magnificent gardens, laid out by the renowned Colonel Reginald Cooper D.S.O and sympathetically restored by the current owners.

‘The smell of beeswax and wood smoke, mingling with the life of this ancient house, create an atmosphere of past times, adding to the feeling that little has changed since the time of Richard Bluett, the builder of Cothay.

‘Cothay is a romantic garden epitomised by the terrace with its red rose for York and a white rose for Lancaster. Legend has it they were originally planted to celebrate the end of the Wars of the Roses in the 15th century, when Richard Bluett built Cothay, and roses have always flowered since.

‘Leading off the long Yew Walk are many small garden rooms, further enclosed by yew hedges. As with the rooms of the house they have their own individual character.’

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *