The heart of Matara is Kingscote Park House, once the home of John Wedgwood, co-founder of the Royal Horticultural Society. It was also the home of Katharine Kingscote, who married Edward Jenner, the scientist who developed a vaccine against smallpox.
The romantic story of Katherine Kingscote and Edward Jenner is wonderfully appropriate since Matara has become a special place for many couples starting married life together.
An experiment brought the couple together. On September 2nd 1784, Jenner launched a hydrogen-filled balloon from Berkeley Castle. After ten miles, the balloon came down by Symond’s Hall, close to Kingscote Park House.
Jenner met Katherine Kingscote when he came to collect the balloon and they fell in love. They married at Kingscote Church on March 6, 1788 and lived in the Regency house on the estate.