Coleridge Way

Worthy Manor

Worthy Manor

The Coleridge Way passes through the estate of Worthy Manor. First mentioned in 1292 and once owned by Barlynch priory at Brompton Regis, in 1835 Worthy Manor belonged to Lord William King of Ockham. Marrying Lord Byron's daughter, Ada, Countess of Lovelace, who brought with her a considerable fortune, Lord William set about using her money to improve the estate, 'to make this hermitage worthy of your presence,' he told her.

Known in Lady Lovelace's day as Ashley Combe, the 16th Century mansion was elaborately remodelled and a lavish parkland established. Some 100,000 saplings were brought from Lord

Lovelace's estate in Torridon to be planted as deer cover, and Swiss engineers were commissioned to dig tunnels from the house to Lady Lovelace's private beach, so that she could visit it unseen.

A regular visitor was Charles Babbage, whose 'difference engine', designed in the 1820s, laid the foundations for modern computers. Lady Ada was a fellow mathematician and wrote an algorithm for the massive machine. Because of this she is often described as the worlds’ first computer programmer.

Ashley Combe was completely demolished after the second world war but part of the estate, such as elaborate walls and the toll house, can still be seen today.

 

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