Make yourself at home…Baddesley Clinton was home of the Ferrers family for 500 years. Constant in their adherence to the catholic faith and often short of money, the house nevertheless passed from father to son for 12 generations before finally being sold in 1940.
It's this entrance front that makes Baddesley one of the most visually pleasing architectural ensembles in England, with its combination of bridge, moat and crenelated gatehouse and with its stonework and windows of several different periods.
The courtyard, with its yews, lawns and brick paths, was created in 1889 by Edward Heneage Derring and has changed little since. The main charge of the Ferrers arms (seven mascles, or lozenges) is laid out on the lawn and is planted in its gold and red heraldic colours.
This year at Baddesley explore the transformed Tudor Kitchen and discover how the house became a place of safety for Catholic priests living in dangerous times.
The Great Hall
This Great Hall was constructed in the 1570s by Henry Ferrers the Antiquary, who put in the oak panelling. The Great Hall is dominated by a magnificent stone chimneypiece, which was originally elsewhere in the house.
The dining room
This room is next to the gatehouse and part may have been used as a porter's lodge in earlier times. It was used as a dining room by the Victorians but Mr Ferrers found it too dark to entertain in here, so he used the drawing room instead.
Henry Ferrers' bedroom
As you climb the main staircase from the Great Hall, added in the 18th century, you come first to the bedroom fitted out for Henry the Antiquary. The elaborate carved overmantel was installed in 1629, and probably the panelling too. The handsome carved and inlaid bed was made up from 17th century fragments, in the 19th century.
The chapel was perhaps the great chamber of the Bromes' house. It was almost certainly used by the Jesuit priests during their stay at Baddesley Clinton, both as a bedroom and place of worship.
The Great Parlour
The Great Parlour over the gatehouse is one of the finest rooms in the house and was the result of works by Edward Ferrers, son of Henry the Antiquary. It was a multi-purpose room of entertainment with an emphasis on dining with honoured guests.
The library used to be a bedchamber in Tudor times and was known as the 'Ghost Room'. It now has a considerable amount of small-format educational books of the period 1780 to 1820. In particular, there are many books for small children - not so much books for children to read but texts for adults to read to them. These are unique in the trust as no other property has anything like them.
Did you know?
- Much of what you see today was built by Henry Ferrers
- The house was a sanctuary not only for the Ferrers family but also for persucuted Catholics
- Jesuit priests were hidden from priest hunters in secret hiding places
- By the end of the 1600s the estate was in decline and it wasn't untill the 1860s that its fortunes picked up
- In the 1860s two couples known as the Quartet lived in the house devoting their time to painting, writing and restoring the house