Originally built in 1383, it was clear as we went around that some of the additions had a previous life in local religious establishments, dismantled under Henry VIII.
The main historical interest centred on the English Civil War, when the house was owned by the MP for Gloucestershire, Colonel Stephens. He was persuaded against his better judgement to support Cromwell’s desire for Charles I’s impeachment and subsequent execution, but did not attend in person to sign, so was not regarded as a regicide after the restoration of Charles II.
Soon after the King was beheaded, Col. Nathaniel Stephens died in the room used by Cromwell on his visit -a spendid room with tapestries over 400 years old on the walls (it was also used as a sick room). It is said that his ghostly form was seen leaving Chavenage in a carriage driven by a headless coachman wearing the Royal vestments.
George & Caroline gave us a tour of the house, with many family anecdotes, all in a relaxed and humorous way. The Great Hall, now used as an entrance hall, was still grand with a minstrel's gallery, despite having been cut off to provide smaller more useful rooms. They had many family and other paintings, as well as memorabilia leading to reminiscences of past family exploits.
These days, the property is very much a family home even though it is open to the public on a part-time basis.
Chavenage has been used as a film/TV location on many occasions, perhaps most notably Poldark.
We are looking forward to having many visits next year!