Upton Cressett Hall
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Superb 16th-century gatehouse
A sense of the past is never far from the surface at Upton Cressett. The manor was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, and remnants of a far earlier Roman settlement ca be discerned in a nearby farm field. Also nearby are earthworks which define the outlines of a deserted medieval village. The beautiful little Norman church of St Michael is all that remains of that settlement.
In 1483 the young Edward V, Prince of Wales and heir to Edward IV, was anointed king at Ludlow following his father's death. The young king's entourage then made a desperate attempt to reach London and have Edward officially crowned at Westminster Abbey. Tradition says that the royal party stayed overnight at Upton Cressett Hall before crossing the River Severn at Bridgnorth. Unfortunately for the young king's cause, he and his entourage were intercepted by his uncle, Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Edward and his younger brother Richard were imprisoned in the Tower of London, where the two 'Princes in the Tower disappeared and were presumed murdered, while Richard had himself crowned king.
It was not until the Cash family purchased the near-derelict Hall in the 1950s that the process of restoration began. It is fascinating to hear the current owner, William Cash, talk about the state of the Hall when he was a child, and then look around at the transformation wrought by 4 decades of painstaking restoration. Part of the restoration was to restore the Jacobean paneling, which had been stolen when the house was derelict. The parlour now has modern panelling, but the walls are hung with paintings of prominent Royalists in recognition of the history of the house and its owners.
All that restoration effort has been noticed; in 2011, following 2 years of restoration, Upton Cressett received the 'Hidden Gem' Award from Hudson’s Heritage Group, beating off competition from historic houses around Britain. I'd have to agree; the Hall is one of the most enjoyable and least known Tudor houses I've ever have the pleasure of visiting. After all, how many times do you get to have tea and cakes in a medieval pavilion on the lawn of a Tudor house, with a medieval church as a backdrop?
The Hall has fairly limited open days, currently a few days a week during the summer months, but it is well worth the effort to make time for a visit. We came on a sunny afternoon in late August, and enjoyed an entertaining and very friendly tour led by Mr Cash, who took us through the Elizabethan gatehouse, and into the old medieval hall on the ground floor of the hall, then upstairs to see how the house had been enlarged in the 16th century. Our guide told us about the legend that there is a secret underground passage between the parlour and the nearby church. Apparently this is more than just a romantic story; the end of the passage has been discovered, and the family plan to restore it so that visitors can experience it for themselves.
After the tour, which lasted about 45 minutes, we had a lovely tea with cakes on the lawn, protected from a sudden shower by a medieval style canvas pavilion. After the tea we had the opportunity to tour the workshop studio run by Lady Laura Cathcart, Mr Cash's wife. This was an unexpected pleasure, and had the surprising side-benefit of inspiring our teenage daughter to pursue a career as a milliner!
I highly recommend a visit to Upton Cressett; the house is a wonderful mix of medieval and Tudor, the gatehouse is simply stunning, and you can easily wander down from the house to the lovely Norman church of St Michaels.
About Upton Cressett Hall
Address: Upton Cressett, Shropshire, England, WV16 6UH
Attraction Type: Historic House
Location: In Upton Cressett hamlet, beside the church.
Website: Upton Cressett Hall
Historic Houses Association
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest
Upton Cressett, St Michael's Church - 0 miles (Historic Church)
Morville Hall - 1.2 miles (Historic Building)
Bridgnorth, St Leonard's Church - 3.7 miles (Historic Church)
Much Wenlock, Holy Trinity Church - 5.1 miles (Historic Church)
Much Wenlock Guildhall - 5.1 miles (Historic Building)
Wenlock Priory - 5.1 miles (Abbey)
Shipton Hall - 5.9 miles (Historic House)
Benthall Hall - 6.3 miles (Historic House)
Nearest Accommodation to Upton Cressett Hall: