Iscoyd Park, Whitchurch, Shropshire
Iscoyd Park has a rich and varied history with a string of colourful owners over the centuries. The house, as seen today, dates back to 1737. However, parts date back to 1700 and there was certainly a dwelling there some centuries before that.
In the 14th century the estate was owned by the heirs of Iorweth Voel, Lord Maelor Saesneg. It then passed by marriage to the Roydens of Holt. In the 17th century the Jennings family lived at Iscoyd and in 1737 William Hanmer, who had married the Jennings heiress of Gopsal, Leicestershire, built the front part of the house. It was then sold to Rev Richard Congreve in 1780.
Philip Lake Godsal, who was the son of the leading coachmaker of the time (also named Philip Godsal), bought the house in 1843. The Godsal family has been at Iscoyd Park more or less ever since. P.L. Godsal added the portico and the dining room and Philip William Godsal, his son, was responsible for the bow to the drawing room in 1876. P.W. Godsal was an improving agriculturalist and rural philanthropist who believed his tenants should have the opportunity to farm their own smallholdings. Philip Thomas was next. He was an outstanding shot and a founder member of the English Eight Club in 1878. His inventions included the Godsal Rifle, which was nearly adopted by the British Army instead of the Lee-Enfield. He was responsible for adding the curious looking water tower at the back of the house to hold the water tanks. In the Second World War, the park at Iscoyd was requisitioned for use as a 1,500-bed hospital for United States Forces with a prisoner-of-war camp in the enclosure. As Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd wrote, ‘The beautiful parkland was obliterated by an Orwellian nightmare of Nissen Huts, barbed wire and control towers.’ The Americans then handed it over and immediately after the war it become a camp and hospital for Polish refugees. Colonel Philip Godsal returned to the house in 1946 but because of the continuing presence of the camp lived in a flat on the first floor in the library wing. It was not until 1957 that the park was finally given back to the family. In 1964, Philip H. Godsal moved to Iscoyd and restored the Georgian façade. He died in 1982 and two years later his son, Philip Caulfeild Godsal, moved in. A land agent, Philip Caulfeild gradually set about restoring all the outbuildings, re-roofing the main part of the house and ridding it of deathwatch beetle. The latest in the Godsal dynasty to occupy Iscoyd, Philip Langley and his wife Susie, have taken on the job of renewing various parts of the fabric of the house and the bulk of this huge restoration project was completed in 2010.
Guided tour of main house, converted outbuildings and gardens, conducted by a member of the family.
Just to say how much we enjoyed our tour of the house and gardens this morning. We learnt lots of interesting things ... What a wonderful afternoon we spent with you on the Invitation to View.
Directions from the north: Leave M6 at Jct 19, A556 signed Northwich and Chester. Turn left onto A49 signed Tarporley and Whitchurch at cross roads (traffic lights, with Shell garage on the right), just beyond Sandiway.
Follow A49 to Whitchurch bypass and take third exit at second roundabout with Esso garage and Little Chef, A525 signed Wrexham. Cross into Wales after 1 mile, and take first turning to the right, signed Iscoyd Park and Higher Wych (turning is just beyond junction with A495 to Ellesmere and Oswestry to the left, by Redbrook Hunting Lodge Hotel). Follow road for half a mile, Iscoyd Park is on the right (green Iscoyd Park sign). Directions from the south: leave M6 at Jct 10A, M54. Leave M54 at Jct 3, A41 signed Whitchurch. Follow Whitchurch bypass to roundabout with Esso garage and Little Chef, take first exit off the roundabout A525 signed Wrexham. Cross into Wales after 1 mile, and take first turning to the right, signed Iscoyd Park and Higher Wych (turning is just beyond junction with A495 to Ellesmere and Oswestry to the left, by Redbrook Hunting Lodge Hotel). Follow road for half a mile, Iscoyd Park is on the right (green Iscoyd Park sign).
Tea, coffee, cakes, biscuits, soft drink
No dogs, no stilettos, photographs permitted as long as nothing is posted on social media. Because our properties are old and fragile, unfortunately we cannot include children under 14.
Ground floor only, and gardens.