History of The Alscot Estate
There has been a house at Alscot since the middle Ages. At one time it belonged to Deerhurst Priory in Gloucestershire and then ownership passed to Tewkesbury Abbey. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539, it passed into private hands, including the Marriett family. In 1747 Preston and Alscot, together with the adjacent manors of Whitchurch, Wimpstone and Crimscote, were sold to James West, MP.
James West (1703-1772), was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and a noted collector of books, manuscripts and coins. He also became President of the Royal Society. In 1746 he was appointed Joint Secretary to the Exchequer, a post he held until 1762, when he retired to live at Alscot.
Mrs. West, writing to her brother abroad about her husband's purchase of Alscot, says, ‘'it is the comicallest little old house that you ever saw. The grand entrance is by a sweep in the Park, which brings you to a Bowling Green where you enter a Little Tiny Hall, on the right of which is a long narrow Drawing Room....‘ In a later letter she wrote ‘'it really is a sweet place and we have a river which winds very beautifully through the park and close to one part of it is a very quick rising hill upon which is the finest growth of tall firs I ever saw; besides the river we have three very fine pieces of water in the park which fat the finest carp, tench, perch and pike. The house is a very bad one, but if I get a good prize in the Lottery we are to build in the spring".
James West's father was a successful London cloth merchant, his grandfather Mayor of Banbury. Through his parliamentary connections West knew many members of the gentry and nobility who had country mansions in the Midlands, such as George (later Lord) Lyttleton of Hagley, Lord Aylsford of Packington and Lord Coventry of Croome.
Today Alscot Park, the wonderfully preserved Rococo Gothic style house, is home to Andrew and Emma Holman-West and their children. Whilst Andrew has an active role in the management of Alscot he also heads the long established family Insurance business in the City of London. The house is not open for public viewing, but on occasions Alscot Park and Gardens open for exclusive tours and other events.
The beautiful surrounding Park land is home to highland cattle, fallow deer and Jacob sheep. There are some wonderful old trees in the grounds, in particular some cedar trees, a venerable tulip tree and a sweet chestnut. The various garden beds are a riot of colour in the summer and the kitchen garden is host to some delicious produce, some of which is used in The Bell's own kitchens!