Coleshill House 1911

Coleshill House has had a variety of glamorous and colourful residents from the 17th century to the present day. In 1769, the hoouse was purchased by Benjamin Cowell, a successful London surgeon who probably bought the house as a country retreat. He died at Coleshill in 1783, leaving his 'capital messuage or mansion house situate and being at Coleshill' to his wife Ann for life and then to his son Andrew. Cowell obviously had a plantation in the West Indies, for he left his son, Andrew, 'several negroes and other slaves, men, women and children, in the Island of Jamaica'.

Ann Cowell survived her husband by 30 years and her son Andrew Cowell had a distinguished military career, rising to the rank of general in 1814. Ann Cowell lived in London and leased Coleshill House to a succession of wealthy tenants, including Edward Neeve, Mrs Spooner, Hon. Thomas Grenville, George Monro, William Greenwood, Rev. Charles Waller, Joseph Waton and the Rev. John Fisher. In 1805, she put the house on the market:

A most desirable freehold residence, exonerated from land tax, delightfully situated in the rural and social hamlet of Coleshill in the County of Herts; consisting of a convenient modern brick house in thorough repair, double coach-house, a 5-stall stable, cowhouse, granary and numerous out offices. A fore court with circular carriage approach, and two capital gardens, with brick walls, clothed with the choicest fruit trees in a high state of bearing, and 49a 2r 30p of excellent enclosed orchard, meadow and pasture land. Also two cottages with gardens. The house is situated on an eminence, a very healthy spot, well supplied with excellent water, surrounded with country abounding with game, commanding views too rich and extensive to describe.


Coleshill House 2008

Sometime before 1861, Coleshill House was purchased by John Werge Howey. The Howey family came from Northumberland, where Henry Howey owned the Pasture Hill estate, including valuable coal mines. His son Henry Howey was an early emigrant to Australia and bought property in Melbourne in 1837. When Henry Howey died at sea, the Melbourne property passed to his brothers, John Verge Howey, a career soldier, who lived at Coleshill House, and Edwards Werge Howey, a surgeon at Bromyard in Herefordshire. John Werge Howey rebuilt some of the cottages on the estate. His initials and date are on Grey's Cottage. John Werge Howey died at Lowestoft in 1877, aged 71. The freehold of Coleshill House was inherited by Edwards Werge Howey's son, John Edwards Werge Howey, a Captain in the Bengal Infantry. Captain Howey was away in 1881, but two of his children, both born in India, were resident with six servants, a coachman and a gardener. Two of Captain Howey's children were born at Coleshill in 1885-6. By 1891, Captain Howey had let Coleshill House to Edmund Alderson Fawcett, whose son, Edmund Alderson Sandford Fawcett, was the engineer for the Amersham Beaconsfield and District Waterworks.

In the 20th century, the house was owned by the Docker family, industrialists from Birmingham. After the deaths for Frank Dudley Docker and his wife Caroline, the house passed to their son Sir Bernhard Docker whose glamorous wife Lady Docker was constantly in the society columns of the newspapers.

In 1978, the property was converted into eight flats.