Baddesley under the Tudors

The magnificent Tudor chimneypiece at Baddesley

Over the course of its 500 year history, Baddesley Clinton has provided refuge for those seeking to escape the outside world, never more so than when it became a place of safety for Catholic priests living in dangerous times.

This year at Baddesley take a closer look at their story and explore the transformed Tudor Kitchen and discover how the house became a place of safety for Catholic priests living in dangerous times.

The priest hole beneath the kitchen at Baddesley Clinton was used to shelter Jesuit priests in the mid-16th century
The priest hole, formerly a medieval sewer, beneath the kitchen, at Baddesley Clinton, Warwickshire

Henry Ferrers let the house to the Catholic Vaux sisters between 1586 and 1591, and it was at this time that Nicholas Owen, the ingenious ‘priest hide’ builder was asked to install hiding places at Baddesley. This was a dangerous practice, as the 1559 Act of Uniformity made it treason to harbour a Catholic priests.

There are several at Baddesley with room to hide about 20 people. They came into use at least once, in 1591 when a conference of Jesuit priests was raided by local authorities. They did their job, as no-one was caught.

" It was about five o'clock the following morning... when I suddenly heard a great uproar outside the main door... but a faithful servant held them back, otherwise we should all have been caught."
- Father John Gerard

The great hall was constructed in the 1570s and is dominated by a magnificent stone chimneypiece, which was originally elsewhere in the house. From here you can visit all the other rooms such as the drawing room, the chapel, library, Henry Ferrers’ bedroom and more.

Take your time, wander around the house and our friendly volunteers are posted around to tell you more about the history of Baddesley Clinton.