National Trust house near Daventry helps couple get engaged

editorial image

It was a happy visit to a National Trust property near Daventry for one couple after they came away from their stop engaged.

Philip Wale, 27, had been looking for the perfect spot to propose to his girlfriend Sophie Wright, 23.

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of Sir Henry and Lady Frances Dryden, Canons Ashby announced earlier this year they would be opening the grounds for couples to pop the question to each other.

Last month the offer was taken up by Philip.

After dating for nearly three years, Philip, a facilities manager from Nottingham, had been trying to find the right place to finally ask Sophie for her hand in marriage.

While planning a long journey between London and Nottingham, Philip had been looking for somewhere they could stop on the way. Knowing that Sophie loved old buildings, Philip thought National Trust owned Canons Ashby, would be a nice treat. He then noticed on the historic site’s website that they were helping couples to get engaged at the property.

Philip contacted Canons Ashby immediately, and the task fell to Helen Roadnight, house manager, and Marie Smith, marketing and events officer, to find and create a magical and secluded spot where Philip could get down on one knee. Marie said: “Philip had to send me a picture of himself so that I would know who he was when he arrived. I think when the time came I was nearly as nervous as he was. I kept thinking ‘What if she doesn’t like it?’”

A room overlooking the gardens was made private, flowers were brought in and furniture repositioned to accommodate a specially made cream tea.

Philip said: “I was nervous and excited... After it happened I was so happy and relieved it all went well and she said yes.

“Sophie was over the moon and shaking with excitement and happiness.”

Sophie said: “I suppose I was just overwhelmed with excitement and happiness!

“The whole setting was so romantic; I couldn’t have asked for anything better than just me and Phil, and him getting down on one knee... it was just such an indescribable feeling that it’s making me smile just thinking about it.”

Canons Ashby hopes this is the first of many successful proposals to happen at the property, as the call is still out for young couples who would like have an engagement story with a difference.

If you would like to enquire about your own proposal, send your details to or call 01327 861900.