The tiny village of Cothelstone lies at the foot of Cothelstone Hill, only a mile from its big neighbour, Bishops Lydeard. Visiting Cothelstone is like stepping back in time: it is a very special place. The church, houses and farm buildings all cluster round a beautiful old Elizabethan Manor house

  • An old postcard of Cothelstone church and green

The ancient ‘holy well’ at Cothelstone

  • St Agnes Well.

For centuries, Cothelstone Manor and the surrounding deerpark belonged to the Stawell family. Some of the Stawells are buried in the church. This is Sir Matthew Stawell who died in 1379.

  • Effigy of Sir Matthew Stawell.

These are the oldest buildings at Cothelstone.

  • Old buildings in Cothelstone
  • Medieval stone window

Sir John Stawell and his wife, who owned Cathelstone in the 16th century

  • A painted alabaster effigy of Sir John Stawell.

Sir John completely rebuilt Cothelstone, apart from the church and the old hall. He built a new house, the gatehouse, the gateway, a banqueting Hall and a summer house, with courtyards and gardens as well as orchards, farm buildings, a mill, dovecote and fishponds.

The Gatehouse to Cothelstone Manor

  • The Gatehouse to Cothelstone Manor

Sir John built his gateway to arch over the road. ,Later they moved it to one side. Can you see the stone lions?

  • Cothelstone Manor Gateway

"How Many Arches?"

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The family could sit or eat outside in their summerhouse.

  • Cothelstone Manor Gazebo

But, Sir John never enjoyed his beautiful new manor. During the Civil War he was a Royalist, supporting the King. The victorious Parliamentarians punished him by putting him in prison. Then they knocked down most of his house and destroyed his orchards.

There is a story that, years later, stone from the ruins was used to build a new road.

  • Milestone made of granite and cast iron

Terhill Park

Thomas Slocombe owned some land above Cothelstone. He had grand plans for his estate and he built Terhill House in 1778. Then he turned his fields into a small landscape park, with canals, carriage drives, garden buildings, a grotto and ten large statues of Roman gods and goddesses! Very fashionable!

  • View from the top of Terhill Park

In the 19th century the Esdaile family bought the estate.

They also bought Terhill Park. They didn’t like the way Mr Slocombe had filled it with ‘follies’ and were rude about the statue of Jupiter.

  • Statue of Jupiter at Terhill Park

"Unbelievable Creatures"

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They joined Terhill Park to Cothelstone Park.

  • Large area of parkland

They built a grand new mansion and called it Cothelstone House. This entrance lodge is all that is left of it today.

  • The entrance to Cothelstone Park.

"What is Red?"

Click on the framed picture for tour stop 1

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They also built this footbridge to connect Cothelstone House and Stables to the walled kitchen garden on the other side of the road.

  • There is a stone on the bridge inscribed ‘G.I.E. 1838’. (George I Esdaile).

Then they carefully restored the old manor house.

  • The old manor house.

The Esdailes also built these new farm buildings…

  • Cothelstone Farm.

…and a school house for the children of Cothelstone parish.

  • Cothelstone Farm.