You bought that mansion and didn’t live in it?

Snowshill Manor is one of the National Trust’s more unique properties. Based in Gloucestershire its most recent history is linked to a gentleman called Charles Paget Wade who born in 1883 and dies in 1956. He was a self-proclaimed craftsman and poet, having spent much of his early career as an Architect and he qualified as an Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects back in 1907.

Snowshill Manor belonged to the Abbey of St Mary at Winchcombe from 821 until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539 when Henry VIII then became the owner of the Manor and gave it to Catherine Parr as part of her dower. Her husband Thomas Saymour gained possession of the house after she died in childbirth. After Thomas Saymour’s execution in 1549, the Manor reverted back to the crown.

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From 1549 until 1565 the Manor passed through the hands of various members of royalty. In 1565 the Manor was sold to a consortium. However, Snowshill was sold within the same year and 73 years later (in 1638) the Manor was sold to William Sambach. Then in 1779 it was sold to John Small (who became the first in a series of absentee landlords).

Charles Paget Wade bought the Manor house, priest’s house, two cottages and 14 acres of land for £3,500. Wade remained at the Manor until 1951 when he presented the house and its contents to the National Trust (negotiations had been completed in 1938). He gained much of his money upon his fathers death through inheritance of a share of the family business based on the island of St Kitts in the West Indies.

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Mr Wade was a very eccentric man and he actually used the mansion to house his collection of artefacts. He was obsessed and deeply inspired by anything that had been made by human hands and by the time he purchased Snowshill Manor he had amassed an amazing 22,000 items and he continued to add to these throughout the rest of his life.

He himself lived in the small Priest’s cottage along with his wife. Although after marrying the couple spent a lot of their spare time in the family home in the West Indies. It was on a trip back to England that Charles died and he is buried along with the rest of his family in Snowshill village Churchyard.

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