Coggeshall is a small charming town in Essex just off the A120 road between Braintree and Colchester. There are two National Trust properties in the area both within in walking distance of each other.
Paycocke’s House and Garden is a beautiful historic Tudor house once owned by John Paycocke. It was built from an existing medieval hall and was a wedding present for his son Thomas Paycocke and daughter-in-law Margaret.
The house is located on the right side of West Street as you drive into Coggeshall from Braintree. Built around the 1500s the house features a wealth of wonderful woodwork and detailed carvings.
Thomas was a wealthy cloth merchant in the town. The house was where he lived and worked. The gardens were much used as a work yard by Thomas and other merchants at that time. It was in 2008 the National Trust restored the gardens to an Arts and Crafts style which was an international trend/movement in the mid-19th century Britain.
We visited late August 2019 and like all National Trust days out when the weather is perfect, it’s a real breakaway from the hustle and the bustle of the norm. One can in no particular order relax in the garden, wander, discover, chat to volunteers, browse the gift shop, read and enjoying afternoon tea whilst travelling back in time in thought.
We then took a short walk from Paycocke’s House, crossing the bridge at River Blackwater to our next historic stop, one of Europe’s oldest timber framed buildings, Grange Barn.
The Grade I listed barn was built by Cistercians in the 13th century to serve Coggeshall Abbey, from the 1960’s it was left derelict till it was compulsorily purchased in 1982 by Braintree District Council. This paved the way for restoration works which were completed in 1985. It was later handed to the National Trust in 1989. Grange Barn today is impressive and surprisingly can hold up to 250 people making it a popular choice for local couples who enjoy a dramatic, medieval cathedral style venue for their wedding.
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