Iscoyd Park has a rich and varied history with a string of colourful owners. The main house dates from 1737, when William Hanmer bought Iscoyd and added significantly to it; other parts date back to the mid seventeenth century, and there was certainly a dwelling on the site for centuries before that.
William Hanmer bought Iscoyd from Thomas Deaves, a mercer from Whitchurch, previous owners having been the Adams family, founders of the Adams’ Haberdashers School at Newport in Shropshire. Hanmer married Elizabeth Jennens from Gopsall in Leicestershire, Iscoyd was inherited by their daughter Esther who sold the house to the Congreve family in 1780 for £8,400, having married Assheton Curzon (later Viscount Curzon) and moved to Staffordshire.
Philip Lake Godsal, the son of the leading coach maker of the time, and married to Hon Grace Ann Best, daughter of the first Lord Wynford, bought Iscoyd from the Congreves in 1843 for £12,500. The Godsal family has – by the skin of its teeth – been at Iscoyd Park pretty much ever since.”
Philip Lake Godsal 1784 – 1858
P.L. Godsal added the portico and the dining room and his son, Philip William Godsal, was responsible for the bow to the drawing room in 1876. P.W. Godsal was agriculturalist and rural philanthropist who believed his tenants should have the opportunity to farm their own smallholdings.
Philip Thomas was next. He was a founding member of the English Eight Club in 1878. His inventions included the Godsal Rifle, which was nearly adopted by the British Army instead of the Lee-Enfield. He was responsible for adding the curious-looking water tower at the back of the house to hold the water tanks.
In the Second World War the park at Iscoyd was requisitioned for use as a 1,500-bed hospital for United States Forces with a prisoner-of-war camp in the enclosure. As Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd wrote: “The beautiful parkland was obliterated by an Orwellian nightmare of Nissen huts, barbed wire and control towers.” Immediately after the war it become a camp and hospital for Polish refugees. Colonel Philip Godsal returned to the house in 1946 but because of the continuing presence of the camp lived in a self-contained flat on the first floor in the library wing. It was not until 1957 that the park was given back to the family.
In 1964, Philip H. Godsal moved to Iscoyd and restored the Georgian façade. He sadly died young in 1982 and two years later his son, Philip Caulfeild Godsal, moved in. A land agent, Philip Caulfeild gradually set about restoring all the outbuildings, re-roofing the main part of the house and ridding it of death watch beetle.
Which brings us to the latest in the Godsal dynasty to occupy Iscoyd – Philip Langley and his wife Susie. Despite the extensive work carried out by his father on the house, various parts of the fabric of the house urgently needed renewing if it was to survive as an adored family home.
Philip Langley and his family had to do a great deal of soul searching as to which direction to take Iscoyd. After much thought and discussion with the other members of the family Philip Langley, Susie and their three children moved to Iscoyd in September 2009 and started a huge restoration project to create a country wedding venue and family residence fit for the next generations of owners to enjoy.
The bulk of the restoration was finished in May 2010, 20 minutes before the bridal party arrived for the first wedding!