Visit to the Cogswell House, Westbury

            On Tuesday, Nov. 11th, I rented a car to drive to Westbury from London.  I had lived in Bermuda for five years, so driving on the left side of the road was no problem, but following the route was difficult.  In several places where I had to go onto a new road, there were signs for two places, and I didn’t know which I should head for.  I guessed wrong at least twice, but eventually got there.  Peter Jones, who lives in the old Cogswell house, had sent me a map so I had no trouble finding Westbury Leigh – although finding a place to park near the house was a bit of a problem.  When our ancestors lived there, Westbury and Westbury Leigh were separated by fields.  Not today.  We were warmly received, shown through the whole house and given tea.  I noticed a Cogswell Courier in the kitchen.  It was too dark for exterior pictures, so we arranged to go back the next morning.  Peter led us to the Bed and Breakfast where we were to spend the next two nights. 

            Peter Jones also raised an interesting point about Cogswell History.  How did John Cogswell and his family, some very young get from Westbury Leigh to Bristol – a distance of twenty-five miles or more?  They were taking a lot of possessions with them on their way to America.  He suggests that they may have walked as far as Bradford on Avon (about eight miles) and then floated down river on a barge for the rest of the way.  They would have had to have a cart of some kind to carry their possessions.  At that time the Avon River was probably navigable that far, although that is not true today.  I do not think anyone has tried to research that question.

            From our bed and breakfast we could see the white horse between two roofs.  And we had a full English Breakfast – our London hotel gave us only a continental breakfast – or almost.  I passed on one or two of the heavier items.  We found our way back to the ancestral home with some difficulty and took pictures.  Mrs. Jones gave us plaster casts of ancestral initials and of the date – 1591 – but they had not been able to find the cast of the clothier’s mark.  Then we drove to see Stonehenge – about an hour by car (less if we had known the way).  It was sunny in Westbury, but at Stonehenge it was cloudy with a cold wind.  Then back to Westbury and found a closer view of the white horse.  Unfortunately, near this point, the clutch of the rental car decided to burn itself out completely. 

            Sandy Newbury, the lady at our bed and breakfast, took charge after a kind couple drove us back there.  She arranged to have the car retrieved, and after a big run-around from the rental car company, managed to arrange for us to get another car.  She also arranged a Hotel reservation at the Heathrow Hilton for our last night in England.  If anyone wants to stay overnight in Westbury, I can certainly recommend Sandy and Dave Newbury, at Redwood Lodge, The Ham, Westbury, Wilts, BA13 4HE.  She even did a load of laundry for us.

About mcogswell2

I am a retired minister of the United Church of Canada. I am currently Editor of the Cogswell Courier, the newsletter of the Cogswell Family Association.
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3 Responses to Visit to the Cogswell House, Westbury

  1. Danette Cogswell says:

    We are going to England in May 2013. Could you please tell me how to get in touch with Mr Peter Jones. We would love to visit the home of our 11th great grandfather.

    Thanks so much for your help
    Danette Coswell

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