Iscoyd Park has a rich and varied history with a string of colourful owners. The main house dates back to 1737 but other parts date back as far as 1700, and there was certainly a dwelling there centuries before that.
In the 14th century the estate was owned by the heirs of Iorweth Voel, Lord Maelor Saesneg. It then passed by marriage to the Roydens of Holt. In the 17th century the Jennings family lived at Iscoyd and in 1737 William Hanmer, who had married the Jennings heiress of Godsal, Leicestershire, built the front part of the house. It was then sold to Rev Richard Congreve in 1780.
Philip Lake Godsal, the son of the leading coachmaker of the time, bought the house in 1843. The Godsal family have – by the skin of their teeth – been at Iscoyd Park pretty much ever since.
Philip Lake Godsal 1782 – 1835
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 Caulfield Godsal, moved in. A land agent, Philip Caulfield 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!