John owned or was part-owner of the Coley Park Estates from approximately 1802 until 1810.
John McConnell, a wealthy businessman of Sloane Street, London, purchased Coley Park estate in 1802. The property being mortgaged to John Snell Esq.
Only a hundred years after being rebuilt by Tanfield Vachell, and towards the end of the 18th century Vachell House was again falling into ruins. It could have probably been restored again, but John McConnell had other plans.
John decided to construct a new manor house a few hundred yards (metres) to the north and on higher ground (partly due to the seasonal flooding of the Holy Brook stream). The architect engaged was the renowned Daniel A Alexander who had been the successful surveyor of the London Docks, then under construction.
Some materials were salvaged from the old ruined Vachell House to re-use in the new structure. The rest of Vachell House was eventually demolished and levelled. Today, the area is partly covered by allotment gardens.
The Mansion (Coley House) today
The new manor house is the mansion that still stands today on Wensley Road (or more precisely today, Swallows Croft). It was named Coley House, but is today commonly referred to as 'Mansion House' or just 'The Mansion'. Extensive renovations and additions were made when the house was purchased by a hospital chain. Refer to the Coley House page for more information.
In 1807, John exchanged one acre of land on the east side of Stoney Field in exchange for one acre of land known as Honey Bottom in the parish of St Mary.
John McConnell sold the estate and the new Coley House only a few years after completion to John Berkeley Monck in 1810, whose family would own the house and estates for the next 127 years.