In 1993, Mary-Anne and Alastair Robb had to sell their wonderful home in Wiltshire to release much-needed capital into the family business, Marlborough Tiles. This was due to the on-going recession of the early 1990s. Fortunately, the house that they owned at that time – Chisenbury Priory – was snapped up within the first few days of it being on the market, thus enabling a swift move to Somerset, where house prices were lower. Having never thought they would have to move again, they discovered Cothay and the rest is, as they say, “history”.
The gardens were laid out in the 1920s by Col. Reginald Cooper who was great friends with all the gardening grandees of that era; Vita Sackville-West, Lawrence Johnston, Harold Nickholson and Gertrude Jeykell. Interestingly the gardens were laid out in 1925, ten years earlier than those of Sissinghurst.