The Manor and Priest’s House

Why is there low lighting in the Manor?

Experience the rooms in the Manor arranged just how Charles Wade intended © Victoria Swinglehurst

Experience the rooms in the Manor arranged just how Charles Wade intended

We maintain the mysterious atmosphere that Charles Wade intended for the Manor, where there used to be no electricity. Charles Wade used candles and preferred the effect of subdued light when displaying the collection. He asked his visitors to 'compare the blatant blaze of the brilliantly lit shop window of the silversmith with the scene in an ancient continental church with candle-lit golden shrines'. He wanted people to peer into corners and catch 'gold and glints on polished metal'. The low light levels also help us to preserve the collection.

Why are there no labels?

Instruments in the Music room at Snowshill Manor © NTPL/National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel

Instruments in the Music room at Snowshill Manor

Charles Wade stated, ‘I set out to find furnishings that would make an attractive series of rooms pictorially, not to form a museum’. With 22,000 objects in the collection, it would be impossible to label everything and it would create a sea of labels that would detract from the way Wade intended the rooms to be viewed.

Our very knowledgeable room guides are there to help you discover the collection.

Why do we issue timed tickets?

Timed tickets for Snowshill Manor © NTPL/Colin Davidson

Timed tickets for Snowshill Manor

The rooms are small and packed full of treasures, and we’d like you to enjoy them without feeling crowded. Tickets are issued on a first-come, first-served basis available from reception. Tickets cannot be booked in advance. Please be aware that on bank holidays and during school holidays tickets may sell out from early afternoon. There may be a wait to head into the manor on busy days but there's plenty to explore first in the garden, the priest's house and the Turquoise Cellar.

Where did Charles Wade live?

Explore the home of Charles Wade © NTPL/National Trust Images/Stuart Cox

Explore the home of Charles Wade

Mr Wade’s home the Priest's House, next to the Manor, is the heart of Snowshill. Once a brew-house and bake-house, Mr Wade converted this building from farm use. He chose to live here, reserving the Manor for his collection and overnight guests. Here you’ll see how he lived a comparatively spartan existence, indulging in his passion for coaxing beautiful things back to life, reorganising his collection as he added to it, and occasionally hosting visitors (a couple of hundred a year).


What's in the collection?

Discover one of Europe’s largest collections of Samurai armour © NTPL/Victoria Swinglehurst

Discover one of Europe’s largest collections of Samurai armour

There are over 22,000 objects to explore at Snowshill. Look out for:

  • Samurai armour, one of Europe's largest collections
  • bicycles, boneshakers and pennyfarthings
  • model ships and astronomical instruments
  • strange and familiar musical instruments
  • toys, from tiny tin soldiers to a teddy bears' picnic

Charles Wade

Charles Wade began collecting at the age of eight

Charles Wade began collecting at the age of eight

Described by J B Priestley as 'My eccentric, but charming friend of the fantastic manor house', you’ll hear a lot about Mr Wade whilst you’re with us. He was the unconventional collector, architect and craftsman who created Snowshill as we see it today. His granny’s Chinese cabinet inspired his collection, and you’ll see this in the Manor.

The wonderful world of Wade

Go behind the scenes and follow the work of the Manor team who look after the house and the 22,000 objects collected by Charles Wade.

Let nothing perish

Charles Paget Wade, an extraordinary collector

This was Mr Wade’s motto. He spent hours and hours repairing things he had bought, coaxing moving parts back to life and restoring their faded colours. He would then arrange them in the house, creating 'rooms which inspire a thousand fancies'. Our team do the same thing nowadays.

Can't get enough?

Our team have been working for a few years on an inventory of this vast and varied collection. Discover the glorious detail about the objects they’ve photographed and identified.

Costume collection

See these beautiful shoes from our costume collection at Berrignton Hall © National Trust

Berrington Hall, Herefordshire, is currently home to Mr Wade’s astonishing collection of clothing, all made by hand and all of them utterly gorgeous. Take your friends and let our lovely curator tell you the stories of these amazing, delicate, beautiful things. To arrange a visit or for more information please call 01568 613720.