History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
In 1635 the Cottesbrooke estate was purchased by Sir John Langham. Langham was one of those sent by Parliament to Holland in 1660 to invite Charles II to take up the throne after the death of Cromwell and the collapse of the Commonwealth. It proved an auspicious mission, for Sir John was awarded a baronetcy by a grateful Charles.
It is often claimed that Cottesbrooke was the model for Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, though the scholarship behind that claim may be open to some debate, as the same claim has been made for a number of other houses. It seems rather unlikely, in fact, as it appears that Austen never visited Northamptonshire, though she certainly wrote letters to a friend enquiring specifically about the geography and landscape of the county, and we know that her brother was well aquainted with the Langhams, owners of Cottesbrooke.
This famous collection of sporting prints was begun by Sir James Buchanan, Bt. (later Lord Woolavington) in the late 19th century. It features works by the most famous equine painters Britain has ever produced, among them George Stubbs, Ben Marshall, John Ferneley, Sir Alfred Munnings, and Sir John Frederick Herring. The result is quite simply staggering; a wonderful array of period prints. It is interesting to see the Woolavington Collection not just as fine art - which they undoubtedly are - but also as social history. In an age when there were no football stars, race horses could be household names, and a mystique grew up around famous horses, and the lore of their victorious races created a rich lore and folk history. The Woolavington Collection is a unique and precious window into that history.
The mansion is set in lovely 18th century landscape gardens, carefully arranged to create picturesque viewpoints and wide vistas across the park and series of lakes. The main axis of the park - and the house itself - is aligned with the 7th century Saxon church at nearby Brixworth.
We do not know who designed the gardens, but they are very much in the grand style of 18th century landscape gardening popularized by Humphrey Repton and Capability Brown Close to the house is a formal garden area, and further afield you will find a variety of garden areas including a statue walk, wild garden, Philosophers Garden, Pool Garden, Dutch Garden, and a Secret Garden.
Every summer Cottesbrooke hosts a Plant Finders Fair, where keen gardeners can find rare and unusual plants for sale, and visitors can participate in a Plant Swap.
Summing up Cottesbrooke Hall
Cottesbrooke is a wonderful period property, with so much of interest. The gardens alone are worth the price of admission. Please don't miss the nearby parish church of All Saints, where several of the Langham owners of the Hall are buried.
About Cottesbrooke Hall
Address: Cottesbrooke Hall, Cottesbrooke, Northamptonshire, England, NN6 8PF
Attraction Type: Historic House
Location: 10 miles north of Northampton on the A5199.
Website: Cottesbrooke Hall
Phone: +44 (0) 1604 505 808
Historic Houses Association
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
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18th century (Time Period) - 19th century (Time Period) - 7th century (Time Period) - Baroque (Architecture) - Capability Brown (Person) - Charles II (Person) - Cromwell (Person) - Humphrey Repton (Person) - Jane Austen (Person) - Queen Anne (Person) - Saxon (Time Period) -
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Cottesbrooke, All Saints Church - 0.3 miles (Historic Church)
Coton Manor Gardens - 2.7 miles (Garden)
Brixworth, All Saints Church - 2.8 miles (Historic Church)
Lamport, All Saints Church - 3 miles (Historic Church)
Lamport Hall - 3 miles (Historic House)
Holdenby House Gardens - 3.9 miles (Garden)
Holdenby, All Saints Church - 3.9 miles (Historic Church)
Kelmarsh Hall - 4.2 miles (Historic House)
Nearest Accommodation to Cottesbrooke Hall: