Moccas Court

Moccas Court

The loveliest view of England
         I could ever expect to find ...

Moccas Court Hotel sitting in its stunning location on the banks of the river wye

Moccas Court in Herefordshire is the site of a landscape park on the south bank of the River Wye and is a Grade I listed Georgian house and considered one of Herefordshire's finest. Moccas Court lies 13km south-east of Hay-on-Wye.

The name is derived from Moch ros, the Welsh for swine moor. Completed in the early 1780s, original plans were commissioned from the Adam brothers in 1775, but it was built under the supervision of John Nash's pupil, Anthony Keck, a local architect to replace the existing Manor house near the church. Built in four storeys to a rectangular plan, it was constructed of brick with stone dressings and a stone tile roof.

The rooms have extraordinary views over the grounds that were laid out by Capability Brown and Humphrey Repton.

About Moccas Court: History

Moccas Court is reputed to be the site of the residence of Llacheu, son of King Arthur and the abbey of Saint Dubric or Dubricius, the bishop who crowned Arthur.

The first family at Moccas are listed as the de Fresnes, followed by the Vaughans, then the Cornewalls and then the Chester-Masters, who lived at the Court for over 40 years, undertook significant restoration and modernisation to run Moccas Court as a luxurious hotel before selling up in 2013 to Linda Bennett, founder of the LK Bennett shoes and fashion brand.

Hugh de Fresne, a descendant of one of William the Conqueror's knights, was licensed to fortify a manor house near the present deer park in 1294. In 1550, Walter Vaughan built a new property at Moccas and a hundred years later the estate was acquired by the Cornewalls. In 1650 Edward Cornwall, younger son of the Berrington branch of an ancient family of Plantaganet descent, married Frances, widow of Henry Vaughan. Edward had been imprisoned for poaching in Moccas Deer Park, but it is said that Frances was so taken with the man's appearance that she both forgave his offences and agreed to marry him.

In 1771 Sir George Amyand, a successful London banker of Huguenot descent, married the sole heiress, Catherine Cornwall. Under the terms of her father's will, Catherine's marriage meant that Amyand took the name and arms of the Cornwall line. Initially the newly-weds were living in a much earlier house sited near the church at Moccas, but in 1775 the young couple began work on a grander building that we now know as Moccas Court. Work began in 1776 and was complete by 1783.

The stables (elements listed Grade II*), Home Farm (listed Grade II) and estate buildings (variously listed Grade II and II*) were also built around 1783-4 and probably also by Keck. The Norman parish church of St Michael and All Angels (listed Grade I) lies to the south-west of the house.

The Cornwall family lived in the Court until 1916, when Sir Geoffrey moved to a smaller house on the Estate. The Court itself remained empty until after the last war, when Sir Geoffrey finally sold off the contents and let the house on a long lease.

The Chester-Master family inherited Moccas Court in 1962 from Sir William Cornwall, a first cousin, and reinvented it as a popular garden party venue during the Herefordshire "Hay Festival of Literature", as a wedding location and as a B&B using five of its numerous bedrooms.

About Moccas Court Gardens

The 740 acres of parkland extends both sides of the river although principally to the south where the deer park lies on the high ground of the ridge which separates the Wye from the River Dore.

The deer park may be medieval, but only became attached to Moccas in the sixteenth century. The part nearest the River Wye was remodelled in the late-eighteenth century by Lancelot Brown and then Humphry Repton. "Capability" Brown's plans included long, sweeping views, studded with mighty oaks and interrupted only by the stream that meanders through the grounds on its way to the Wye.

The lawns in front of the house own much to Humphrey Repton whose terracing resulted in a fine outlook both up and down the Wye. Repton's son George, himself a noted gardener and landscape architect, also worked at Moccas.

 
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