Before Christmas a group of 50 members visited Cothelstone Manor. Their hosts, Nigel and Finny Muers-Raby, made them very welcome, providing an entertaining talk on the history of the manor and a private tour.
The present house is Grade II listed and dates from the early 1600s. It was largely demolished by the parliamentary troops in 1646 and rebuilt in 1855–56. It is notable for its fine Grade I listed Gatehouse dating from the early 1500s, the Grade II listed Gazebo and the 17th Century Banqueting Hall all of which have survived. The stone mullion windows are of architectural significance and are noted by Pevsner as being unique. There is, in fact, only one other house in England with this type of mullioned window.
The group then went to the the red sandstone Church of St Thomas of Canterbury behind the manor. The church dates from the 12th Century and was largely restored in 1864. It includes memorials to the Stawell family church., which is still in regular use; one of the churchwardens gave a guided tour.
After this the group returned to the manor for a homemade afternoon tea of cake and sandwiches, followed by some carol-singing around the Christmas tree and log fire.