Shugborough Estate

Built: 1695 (completed) Location: Great Haywood, Stafford ST17 0XB History: Shugborough was one of the manors of the bishops of Lichfield in the Middle Ages. The site was purchased in 1624 by William Anson, a lawyer. The current house dates back to 1694. It was once the home of photographer Lord Lichfield, the 5th Earl of Lichfield, who was a…

Wightwick Manor

Built: 1887 (extended in 1893) Location: Wolverhampton WV6 8EE History: Theodore Mander, a Wolverhampton paint manufacturer, and his Canadian wife Flora, commissioned Edward Ould to build Wightwick Manor in black and white ‘Old English’ style in 1887 (extended in 1893). They decorated it with Morris & Co. furnishings, Kempe stained glass and De Morgan tiles, but had more…

Stokesay Castle – Castle Review

Built:  1285 Location: SY7 9AH History: Stokesay Castle is a remarkable survival, a fortified manor house which has hardly altered since the late 13th century. The house was built by Lawrence Ludlow, a leading wool merchant of his day, who created a comfortable residence combining an aesthetically pleasing design with some defensive capabilities. In doing so, he took…

Kenilworth Castle – Castle Review

Built:  1120s Location: Castle Green, Kenilworth CV8 1NG History: Kenilworth is one of England’s most magnificent castles. First built in the 1120s and a royal castle for most of its history, it was expanded by King John, John of Gaunt and Henry V. In 1563 Elizabeth I granted it to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who converted Kenilworth…

Stafford Castle – Castle Review

Built:  1347 Location: Stafford ST16 1DJ History: First built as a hugh timber fortrest in 1100 AD by Robert de Toeni, (later known as Robert of Stafford) under the orders of William the Conqueror in the Norman period, Stafford Castle has dominated the local skyline for over 900 years. It saw action during the Civil War, when it withstood…

Hardwick Hall

Built: Between 1590-1599 Location: S44 5QJ History: Hardwick Hall was built in 1590-9 for Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury, also known as ‘Bess of Hardwick’. Built by Robert Smythson, Hardwick is one of the earliest English interpretations of Italian Renaissance architecture, and stands as one of the greatest of all Elizabethan houses. Huge grids of glass are used…

Bolsover Castle – Castle Review

Built: 1613 Location: Bolsover, Chesterfield S44 6PR History: The castle was founded in the late 11th century by William Peverel, one of William the Conqueror’s knights, but it was neglected from the mid-14th century. Its ruins provided the setting for the Little Castle begun in 1612 by Sir Charles Cavendish as a retreat from his principal seat…

Sudbury Hall

Built: Between 1660 and 1680 Location: Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 9HH History: The History of the Sudbury Estate. The manor of Sudbury is listed in Domesday book (1086).  Sudbury became the property of the Vernon family in the early 16th century through the marriage of the heiress, Ellen Montgomery, to Sir John Vernon (d. 1545) a younger son of Sir Henry Vernon of Haddon Hall in north…

Calke Abbey

Built: 1701 (construction started) Location: Derby DE73 7JF History: The site was an Augustinian priory from the 12th century until its dissolution by Henry VIII. The present building, named Calke Abbey in 1808, was never actually an abbey but is a Baroque mansion built between 1701 and 1704. The house was owned by the Harpur family for nearly 300 years until it was passed to the Trust in 1985…

Kedleston Hall

Built: 1759 (construction started) Location: Derby DE22 5JH History: Kedleston Hall is an English country house in Kedleston and is the seat of the Curzon family. Today it is a National Trust property. The Curzon family have been in Kedleston since at least 1297, and have lived in a succession of manor houses near to or on the site of the present Kedleston Hall. The present house was…

Valle Crucis Abbey

Built: 1553-1560s Location: Llangollen LL20 8DD History: Valle Crucis was truly Welsh from the moment it was founded in 1201 by Prince Madog ap Gruffydd and the ‘white monks’ of the Cistercian order. Its Latin name (Valley of the Cross) refers to the nearby ninth-century Pillar of Eliseg, erected for the glory of a Welsh chieftain. Monks had…

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage

Built: 1463 Location: Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 9HH History: Anne Hathaway’s Cottage was originally a farmhouse. It was built in 1463 of cruck construction when the building would have comprised of just three rooms. The kitchen and parlor still remain from the original medieval construction. The first Hathaway to live in the cottage was Anne’s grandfather John Hathaway, who was a…