Coombe Abbey Hotel – Coventry
History of Coombe Abbey
Coombe Abbey is a hotel which has been developed from an historic grade I listed building and former country house. It is located roughly midway between Coventry and Brinklow in the countryside of Warwickshire, England. The house’s original grounds are now a country park known as Coombe Country Park and run by Coventry City Council.
It was founded as a monastery in the 12th century. Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century it became royal property.
Elizabeth of Bohemia, the daughter of king James I, was educated there in the early 17th century. Had the Gunpowder Plot succeeded she was to have been abducted from Coombe Abbey and proclaimed as Queen Elizabeth II.
In 1682, the West Wing was added by architect Captain William Winde, who also designed Buckingham House, which later became Buckingham Palace. In 1771, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown redesigned the gardens, incorporating the Coombe Pool lake.
For successive generations Coombe Abbey was owned by the Earls of Craven, in whose possession the estate remained until 1923.
In November 1964 Coventry City Council bought Coombe Abbey with 150 acres (0.61 km2) of land. The park was opened to the public in 1966.
Hauntings and Ghost Stories of Coombe Abbey
Visitors to the abbey have reported seeing a cowled figure floating around the grounds and his restless spirit is also believed to be responsible for items being flung about in the kitchens.
One of the saddest tales is of a young gypsy girl who’s footsteps can be heard pattering across the cobbles near the stables.
It’s believed she is Matilda, who fell pregnant to the master of the house who spurned her.
The baby was still-born and the young girl put a curse on the first born which said they would die before middle age.
Other legends surrounding the building include a horseman, said to ride near to the lodge house, and a mysterious woman in Victorian costume riding a bike on the road outside the abbey.