Garnons country house, situated just west of Hereford, has a slightly elevated position which affords wonderful views.
John Geers Cotterell
John Geers Cotterell was born in 1757, and he inherited the estate from his father in the late 18th century; he married the wealthy Frances Isabella Evans and then set about making plans to renovate and rebuild the house. He consulted Humphry Repton, a renowned landscape gardener (famous for his little red books, which each set out detailed instructions for individual country estates; unlike Capability Brown, he designed the gardens and outdoor areas but then left it to the owners to arrange for the implementation of his ideas).
John Cotterell was awarded the title of Baronet in 1805, and he was a Tory MP for Herefordshire for many years – he was staunchly anti catholic, but was also a stout defender of Agriculture in general and Herefordshire in particular. The death of his eldest son in 1834 rather knocked him for six, and for a while he lost enthusiasm for politics.
In the mid 19th century Garnons was rebuilt in the Picturesque style with a castellated section.
Meetings of the Bowmen of Herefordshire regularly took place at Garnons, with Sir J.G. Cotterell Bart. being a representative. Attendance was usually high, and the renowned hospitality of Garnons ensured that everyone was more than happy. Oh, and the shooting was good too!
Death of Sir John Cotterell’s Butler
John Taylor Griffiths had been Butler to Sir John Geers Cotterell for 50 years and was highly respected and esteemed by both family and guests alike. So there was huge sorrow at Garnons when John died in 1840 aged 73 from a long and agonizing illness.
Death of Sir John Geers Cotterell
In 1845 Sir John Geers Cotterell, Bart. Died aged 88 in 1845 at Garnons, and was buried in the family vault at Mansel church.
His obituary reads thus:
“The name of Sir John Cotterell had been so long familiar – his public services so eminent – his frank and hospitable disposition so universally known and acknowledged, that there are few who will not feel in greater or less degree, that in his death one is lost; to them the very mention of whose name used to imply some sort of claim on their good will or respect. It is a consolation to know that his end was free from anything like painful suffering, and a mere decay of nature. In truth few persons can have enjoyed more uniform or vigorous health than the honourable Baronet throughout a long life, or been blessed with a heartier constitution. It may be truly said of him that he has come to his grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in its season.
He had spent no idle life, and many are his claims to be held in respectful remembrance.
Early in his life Sir John entered the County Militia and attained the rank of Colonel. At the outbreak of the Irish rebellion in 1798 – during a high pressure of the revolutionary war with France – it became necessary to accept the assistance of militia regiments, and The Herefordshire under Co. Cotterell’s command was one of the first to volunteer such service and they distinguished themselves.
Shortly after returning from Ireland, he became a successful Tory candidate, and he held the post for almost 30 years; he would have carried on by his friends and family persuaded him that the violence of the Reform phrenzy in 1831 made it unwise to contest the election.
After this, he gradually retired from public life but he continued to be a generous and genial host at Garnons; he was a true country gentleman with innate good taste (as shown by the improvements to Garnons)’
“at Garnons he was surely to be found in all intervals of leisure, keeping the hearth warm, cherishing agriculture, ornamenting his grounds, and in all quiet ways unostentatiously doing substantial service to his dependents and neighbourhood. His family have lost in him an indulgent father; his domestics a kind master; and his neighbours of all ranks, a practical friend.
The admirable likeness of Sir John Cotterell placed by subscription some years since in the Shire Hall at Hereford, will remain a lasting memorial of him, and also for a continued evidence of the public esteem in which he was held by those whom he had faithfully served.
John Geers Cotterell the younger
John Henry Geers inherited Garnons from his grandfather, and unfortunately, a load of unpaid debt too; however in 1846 the young heir to the House of Garnons tragically died of fever at Eton College aged just 17.
Also in this year, advertisements appeared in various papers informing of the opening of Garnons gardens – describing a splendid collection of flowers in full bloom,including ten rare yucca glorwsa plants which contained more than 500 blossoms each.
Sir Henry Geers Cotterell
Sir Henry Geers Cotterell (3d baronet) made himself absolute owner of Garnons by a deed of distraint in 1855.
Sir Hamilton Seymour, late Ambassador to Russia, and his lady stayed at Garnons with their nephew Sir Henry Cotterell in 1855, then shortly afterwards Sir Henry set about asking for tenders to work on the erection of a new wing to Garnons.
In 1857 Sir Henry Cotterell came under fire when was on the threshold of life as a Liberal policitican.
An anonymous (hmm, a tad cowardly) voter wrote a heated letter to the Hereford Journal :
…”we are to have an opposition for the county if a numerously signed requisition can be obtained, soliciting the young heir of Garnons to enter into the turmoils of political strife. That the officious lawyers will strenuously exert themselves to obtain the required invitation there can be no doubt. We are totally uninformed as to what are the political opinions of the young Baronet; they may be Conservative, possibly Radical – we well remember that at Garnons the blue flag has fluttered in the breeze for many years; its colour may have now become sickly pale, and another of a very different hue may be hoisted. I cannot conceive that a change so sudden could have come over the spirit of the young Baronet’s dream; through his own conviction, and great indeed will be the responsibility of his evil advisers”
He went on to say that he had refused to sign the requisition to Sir Henry Cotterell – partly because he was just out of school but mostly because he felt him totally inexperienced in political matters. He also made a rather nasty dig that inferred Sir Henry was not the brightest spark in the county. He finished by saying
“I am fully persuaded that the Party has made a bad choice, and that a candidate for the county of Hereford should be a man of greater experience and farther advanced in years than is the present possessor of Garnons. Such a candidate may easily be found if necessary, and prevent our being misrepresented by any sucking statesman or juvenile senator.”
Sir Henry Cotterell started to suffer with his health, and took to living abroad for much of the time, so he decided to make over the Garnons estate to his son, Captain John Cotterell and his wife Lady Evelyn. This pair were to make Garnons their family seat and principal residence.
They were keen on country pursuits and held many a lavish shooting party on the estate.
Sir Henry Geers Cotterell died in Middlesex in March 1900
The Cotterell family retained ownership of Garnons, and descendants are still in residence, although much of the house was demolished in the mid 20th century. The castellated portion remains, having being renovated in 1907.
1871 – Garnons Household
|Henry Geers Cotterell||36||b. Middlesex|
|Katherine Cotterell||28||Wife||b. Northampton|
|John Cotterell||4||Son||b. London|
|Alice Cotterell||3||Daughter||b. London|
|Louisa Cotterell||1||Daughter||b. London|
|Elizabeth Norman||41||Housekeeper||b. Norfolk|
|Frances Hayne||26||Lady’s Maid||b. Norfolk|
|Henia (?) Briggs||33||Nurse||b. Newmarket|
|Emma Crouch||19||Nurse||b. Andover|
|Emily Bishop||27||Laundrymaid||b. Norfolk|
|Emily Hall||22||Laundrymaid||b. London|
|Emma Whitley||28||Housemaid||b. Harewood, Yorkshire|
|Mary Scott||24||Housemaid||b. Aberdeen, Scotland|
|Mary Farquharson||24||Kitchenmaid||b. Yorkshire|
|Elizabeth Hoodward||20||Kitchenmaid||b. Yorkshire|
|Elizabeth Carter||20||Kitchenmaid||b. Sunderland|
|Charles Smallfield||37||Butler||b. Walton, Middlesex|
|John Tillbury||34||Valet||b. Buckinghamshire|
|Edward Saunders||24||Footman||b. Sussex|
|George Hall||27||Under Butler||b. Hampshire|
|Henry Maddox||25||Usher||b. Herefordshire|
|Thomas Cooper||30||Coachman||b. London|
|Peter Howe||22||Groom||b. Bedfordshire|
|John Gardener||18||Groom||b. Hampshire|
1911 – Garnons Household
|John Richard Geers Cotterell||45||b. Grosvenor Place, London|
|Sylvia Evelyn Cotterell||14||Daughter||b. Belgrave Square, London|
|Cicily Violet Cotterell||12||Daughter||b. Lennox Gardens, London|
|Mildred Katherine Cotterell||8||Daughter||b. London|
|Richard Charles Geers Cotterell||3||Son||b. London|
|Edith Goldingham||35||Governess||b. London|
|Charles Thomas Wheeler||46||Butler||b. Suffolk|
|Edwin Tubb||24||Footman||b. Fulham, London|
|William Grant||24||Footman||b. St. Pancras, London|
|Frederick Ernest Lewis||28||Odd man||b. Leominster, Herefordshire|
|Florence Mothersole||43||Housekeeper and cook||b. Suffolk|
|Elsie Norvel||23||Kitchenmaid||b. East Dean, Sussex|
|Gertrude Clayton||18||Kitchenmaid||b. Hampshire|
|Elizabeth Price||45||Housemaid||b. Holywell, N. Wales|
|Elizabeth Thomas||24||Housemaid||b. South Wales|
|Jane Thomas||22||Housemaid||b. South Wales|
|Annie Saunders||17||Housemaid||b. Swindon, Wiltshire|
|Mary Elizabeth Stroud||41||Laundrymaid||b. Dorset|
|Phebe May Warrel||23||Laundrymaid||b. Shropshire|
|Janet Dodd||19||Laundrymaid||b. Durham|
|Anabella Fraser||31||Nurse||b. Aberdeenshire|
|Kate Jones||20||Nurserymaid||b. New Radnor, Radnorshire|