Henry the Antiquary

Stained glass heraldic panel in a window in the drawing room at Baddesley Clinton

The Henry who inherited in 1564 was known as Henry the Antiquary (1549-1633) because of his extensive knowledge of heraldry, genealogy, and antiquities.

He studied at Oxford and then returned to Baddesley to immerse himself in his studies. He built most of the south range of the house, including the Great Hall. He also added new chimney pieces and panelling and started the tradition of heraldic stained glass windows showing the Ferrers coat of arms often with other arms to commemorate marriages. 

By the late 1580s Henry seems to have been in financial difficulties. He was even imprisoned briefly for attacking a man in London’s Lincoln's Inn in an argument which might have been about money. He leased our Baddesley occasionally, and in 1590 it was rented to Anne and Eleanor Vaux, the daughters of Lord Vaux, who were ardent Catholics.  

Because of its remoteness, its solid walls and its moat, Baddesley was an ideal hiding-place for Catholic priests and Anne took advantage of this by building three “priest holes”, the entrance to one of which can be seen in the kitchen floor. 

It would seem that they did all this without the knowledge of Henry, who was either very lucky or well-connected because he also let his London house to Thomas Percy, one of the conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot, who used it for Guy Fawkes to store the gunpowder! 

Anne Vaux

Anne Vaux 

Anne Vaux, a Catholic herooine who hid priests at Baddesley