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Cotehele House

Cotehele House, near Saltash, is one of the most attractive stately homes in the country. The house stands on a small plateau, its squat grey medieval tower rises from a cluster of granite buildings.

Cotehele is a superb example of a medieval dwelling, it was occupied by the Edgecumbe family but is now owned by the National Trust. The house was built by Sir Richard Edgecumbe in 1485.

Sir Richard joined the Duke of Buckingham in his ill starred revolt against King Richard III in 1483. Sir Henry Bodrugan, acting for the King, besieged him at Cotehele. Vastly outnumbered, the desperate Sir Richard managed to break through the cordon and ran toward the river hotly pursued by his enemies. He hid in the bushes and put a stone into his hat which he tossed into the river. The ruse worked, and his pursuers gave up the chase. He escaped to France where he joined Henry Tudor.

After Henry gained England's throne at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 and becasme Henry VII, Richard Edgecumbe was amply rewarded for his support of his cause, he was given a knighthood, recieved the estates of his enemy, Sir Henry Bodrugan and was appointed Comptroller of the King's Household. Sir Richard began to build Edgecumbe with his newly acquired prosperity.

The main subsequent alterations to the building was the addition of the tall tower in one corner in 1627, added by Sir Thomas Coteele, a London merchant whose daughter married into the Edgecumbe family.

The bell turret on the chapel is an interesting ornamental feature. One of its two bells is also the bell of a clock. It was installed in the chapel in the 1480's and is the earliest clock in England still in working order and in its original position. Constructed before the invention off the pendulum, the clockface and is regulated by the horizontal balance known as foliot.

The hall is a lofty room with large windows overlooking the main court and boasting a superb timber roof. Cotehele is home to a rare collection of Tudor and Stuart furniture and English and Flemish tapestries.

George III and his queen, Charlotte of Mecklenurg-Strelitz visited the house in 1789, the cushions they sat on are still reverently preserved.

The gardens at Cotehele, which are home to a varied collection of plants, have a pond and a stream. They descend to Cotehele Quay on the River Tamar, where sailing barges and later passenger boats once embarked from. the gardens are constructed on various levels and terraces with a remarkable medieval dovecote complete with domed roof.

The mill and Quay at Cotehele have been restored by the National Trust.