“Coatehow” as it was known, derives from the word “cote” meaning shelter and "how" meaning small hill.
Cote How has been the location of choice for centuries. It was here in Roman times, that a lookout post was situated, serving visitors using the old Roman road and ford across the river Rothay. Later a Medieval watch tower, Cote How’s foundations are built into the high rocks dominating the Rydal Valley, with views North towards Hadrian’s Wall. In 1535 the farmhouse was added, including the original Tudor spinning gallery. The house became a haven for travellers wishing to cross the swelling River Rothay just yards away. With its slate floors, lime wash finish and slate stone walls, Cote How encapsulates a subtle relationship of built and natural environment, essential to the beauty of the Lake District, in a way few other venues can achieve. This special place oozes with energy, warmth and spirit, and is an experience in itself!
The earliest known origins of Cote How are of a hexagonal tower (thought to be medieval) which was extended in 1535 with the addition of an Elizabethan house, complete with spinning gallery. This part of the house was built by Michael Benson, a clothier from Manchester. The house - formerly a farm - has seen many tenants over the years who have put Cote How to a number of different uses. Originally built as a farm; it has been a Sunday school, a war time boarding school, split into two separate cottages, home to the Master of the hunt with dog kennels and stables in our party barn, a riding school and more recently a home and bed and breakfast business. Caroline ran Cote How as an organic tearoom and bed & breakfast and since 2013 has run Cote How as a fully exclusive specialist bespoke wedding venue.
From 1901 – 1907, the local artist Frederick Yates lived here as tenant.
Yates had a commission to paint the educationalist Charlotte Mason in the Lake District and he decided to bring his daughter up there. They lived at "Cote How" near Grasmere until 1906. During this period he painted the educator John Haden Badley. He was invited to America to attend the inauguration of United States President Woodrow Wilson and to paint his portrait. According to Armitt Library, Yates was given the flag that Woodrow Wilson rested his hand on whilst taking his oath of office. He died in 1919.
The sketch here was drawn by Yates when he lived at Cote How. The near side of the house built circa 1796 shows a lean-to and no upper windows and the house looks separated into two cottages.
Ex American President Woodrow Wilson had his portrait painted here at Cote How by Frederick Yates in 1906.
On the north side of the house the master bedroom was Yates's painting studio and had a triple glazed north facing skylight in the roof allowing for natural light withut casting shadows.
Extracts form the book "An American President's Love Affair with the English Lake District" sets out lots of charming information about Woodrow's love of this stunning place. He would travel every year from America by boat and stay in a holiday cottage Under Loughrigg for 3 months each summer.
This Portrait was commissioned by Princeton University with Woodrow in his academic robes as President of the University at that time. Unfortunately the painting cannot be traced!
William was born in Cockermouth in 1770, and although he spent a few years of his adult life in Grasmere from 1799-1808, he lived the majority of his life until his death he lived here in Rydal at Rydal Mount 1813 - 1850.
As a young man, Wordsworth developed a love of nature, a theme reflected in many of his poems. Wordsworth gives his famous definition of poetry as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility," A tranquility he found here in the awe inspiring Lake District.
We believe circa 1915 major renovations took place to the house and gardens. Lots of internal garden walls were built in a similar style to those in Rydal Hall and Art Deco fireplaces added to the bedrooms.
The gardens were developed with pathways and terracing in the back of the house, and old irrigation tank has been discovered in the back and every time we dig we find more meandering paths around the rocky outcrop in the back garden.
Hard landscaping was added as feature walls around the lawn and front terrace which we still see today.
Lots of Rhododendrons were planted, some lovely specimens and lots of self seeded Ponticum too which we have to keep control of.
The house and boathouse are favourite subjects of many paintings and photographs in and around Rydal Water over the years.
The Lake District features in many TV dramas and fllms from Swallows and Amazons to more recently the A word and Deep Water.
But did you know that our own boathouse features in the film “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” starring Meryl Streep!
The shape and style of Cote How predominantly remains the same today as it always has been.
Our back door beneath the Tudor spinning gallery pictured here in 1915, still looks identical.
The Tudor arched porch still remains the same, and the dog scratches on the front door, mentioned in the Armitt book on Rydal, "scarred by the hounds returning to their master" in the early 1900's are still in place!
The main staircase is resting on two huge oak beams and held in place by hand made nails!
Every time we lift a floor board we can find some amazing little artifacts!
Cote How is a truly amazing place to live and work and oozes warmth, energy and love