History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
Cotehele was the Edgecumbe family seat until the 17th century, when they moved to Mount Edgecumbe, but the house stayed in the family until given to the National Trust in 1947.
The last owner was Kenelm, 6th Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, whose son and heir, Piers, was killed in action near Dunkirk in 1940. The Earl considered Cotehele a memorial to his son, whose sword is on display in the chapel beneath a plaque in his honour.
The late medieval core of the building gives way to a 17th century tower, which contains 3 bedrooms. One interesting chamber is the White Room, with a four-poster bed hung with Georgian crewel-work. Another bedroom is the King's Room, where Charles I is said to have stayed. Some of the Tudor furnishings are superb, with carved cupboards throughout mixing heraldry, religious symbolism, and fascinating depictions of everyday life.
The most interesting historical feature at Cotehele - apart from the unaltered medieval appearance - is the superb collection of tapestries that hang in all the main rooms open to visitors. Most of these are 17th century and cover a huge range of subjects from daily pastimes to Roman myths. Light levels are kept low within the house to preserve the delicate fabric of the tapestries.
The Chapel in the Woods
From the gardens a trail leads downhill through the Valley Garden and on into woodland to the 'Chapel in the Woods', built by Sir Richard Edgecumbe, the builder of Cotehele House. The chapel commemorates an extraordinary escape; for in 1483 Sir Richard rebelled against King Richard III. When the rebellion failed, he fled, and the king's men pursued him through the woods below his house. Sir Richard was almost cornered when hit upon a desparate scheme; he tossed his hat into the gorge below, and the royal soldiers were fooled into thinking he had fallen into the river and drowned. Sir Richard later built the small chapel on the spot to give thanks for his narrow escape.
Address: St Dominick, Saltash, Cornwall, England, PL12 6TA
Attraction Type: Historic House
Location: 8 m SW Tavistock, nr. A390
Phone: 01579 351 346
National Trust - see also: National Trust memberships (official website link)
OS: SX422 685
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Cotehele, Chapel in the Woods - 0.2 miles (Historic Church)
Cotehele Mill - 0.4 miles (Historic Building)
Morwellham Quay - 1.6 miles (Museum)
Dupath Well - 3.1 miles (Historic Building)
Bere Ferrers, St Andrews Church - 3.9 miles (Historic Church)
Buckland Abbey - 4.2 miles (Historic House)
Garden House - 4.4 miles (Garden)
Ken-Caro Garden - 6.7 miles (Garden)
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