The Old House sits on the historic thoroughfare of Dogpole, in the centre of Shrewsbury within the old town walls. It is a substantial multi-period town house of 15th-century origins, extended in two stages into an L-plan in the 16th century. The rear, riverside, of the property was extensively remodelled and rebuilt in brick in 1752.
Despite the age of the house, the principal rooms are large, spanned by large oak beams and extensive wood panelling. During restoration work to the wood panelling in The Library, painted decoration to the chimney breast was discovered behind the panelling. This can now be revealed via a hinged opening and visitors can view a painted motif of Henry VIII’s Tudor Rose and Katherine of Aragon’s Pomegranate. This painting is either from the early 1500s or possibly from 1553, the year in which Katherine of Aragon’s daughter Mary ascended the throne. The reputed owner of The Old House at the time, Anthony Rocke, was a courtier of the Queen.
1553 is a significant year for the house as it is also the date inscribed on the ornate wood fire surround in The Long Room, a large formal drawing room that looks out over the property’s garden with views of The English Bridge, Lord Hills Column and the Wrekin (although we are not certain that Anthony Rocke had the foresight to know that Lord Hill’s Column would form the centrepiece of the property’s view!) The fireplace dated 1553 in The Long Room is simply stunning. Various wood inlays depict a scene of The Old House from a viewpoint just beyond the old English Bridge. Remarkably, today you can stand on the English Bridge and look at the same, almost identical roof-line of houses and church steeples.
Whilst the front of the property matches the Tudor “black and white” properties that Shrewsbury is renowned for, the rear of the property is Georgian. It was extensively remodelled in 1752 to match the trend of those times.
It’s not only the historical fireplaces and wood panelling that has survived. Smaller historical features such as door handles with ivory inlay, numerous stained glass windows and incredible wide oak floorboards all remain in situ.
In summary, The Old House is full of history. Its connection to Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon is intriguing. The story of its more recent incarnations from family home, to a school for girls, a solicitors office, a museum and then back to a private family house is equally fascinating. The tour comprises a guided tour of the principal downstairs rooms and garden, led by a member of the family who has detailed knowledge of the history of the property. The main rooms include:
- The Library - where hidden behind a wood panelled over-mantel you will be able to view an original painting of Henry VIII's Tudor Rose beside Katherine of Aragon's Pomegranate from circa 1510.
- The Oak Room - featuring wood panelling and feature stained glass window.
- The Long Room - featuring a decorative fireplace and surround dated 1553 comprising intricate wood inlay of a scene of Shrewsbury.
- Gardens - including a section of the original Shrewsbury "Town Walls" and wonderful views of the English Bridge, Lord Hill's Column and The Wrekin.
Tickets £12.50. Refreshments are not included but there are many cafés and restaurants, all set in historic buildings, just a short walk from the property.
Event organiser is Historic Houses.
Disclaimer: All information was correct when the listing was prepared. Any questions about the event should be directed to the event organiser.