The American Connection

A client of mine asked this week if I could resolve an IT issue at his property. Now this is not unusual as I tend to fix minor issues for people all the time. The location was quite hard to find as you can’t see it from the country lanes but was surprisingly close to where I live being all of 23 minutes drive away. The property was however a little different to the normal houses I attend as it is part of a manor house.

General Robert E. Lee
General Robert E. Lee

 In the parish of Alveley, Shropshire stands Coton Hall Manor. Now this alone sounds fairly grand and I wouldn’t have looked up the history if I hadn’t had a difficult time locating it on Google Maps. What surprised me was that it has an American connection to a famous family. May be the family name of de la lee rings a bell with anyone in the USA, especially from the South. It was in fact General Robert E. Lee’s ancestral family home. The family has connections with the land dating back almost 1000 years although the current manor only dates back 200 years the original manor went by the same name.

There is a 13th century chapel on the grounds, one of the few remaining buildings that General Robert E. Lee’s ancestors would recognise today and a secret underground tunnel (now blocked off for safety) that runs from the two storey cellar to Alveley village two miles away.

In a twist General Robert E. Lee’s father fought the British in the American War of Independence against the Soldiers of the Shropshire wiping out most of the British regiment in 1777 in the Battle of Saratoga.

Now I don’t know a great deal about General Robert E. Lee but I have read he was an American hero to some and a traitor to others due to his allegiance to the Confederate army but is now perceived as an American Hero to most being pardoned of any wrongs committed by ex-president Jimmy Carter. I’m sure someone will correct me if this is incorrect.

Coton Hall Manor, Shropshire
Coton Hall Manor, Shropshire

Coton Hall Manor has long since passed ownership from the Lee family in 1821 but the existing family has visited the manor in recent years according to reports.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to tour the manor being privately owned and as my client resides in the extension of the manor known as the Bishops tower but you can view images on the internet of the interior of the manor or visit Alveley parish church for remnants of monuments to the Lee family.

It’s interesting though that the local history of a small village in Shropshire had such an impact in American history.