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Moseley Old Hall

Tuesday, 07 May, 2013 - Modified on Tuesday, 07 May, 2013 at 3:07 pm

 

 

In the early light of 8 September 1651, five days after the Royalist defeat at the Battle of Worcester, Charles II, disguised as a woodcutter, took refuge at Moseley Old Hall.

 

Waiting at the rear of the house was Thomas Whitgreave, the owner of Moseley and his chaplain John Huddleston. They escorted the king through the heavily studded orchard door and took him by candle light up the narrow stairs to the priest's room, now known as the King's Room. Here, in the four-poster bed, the king spent his first night in comfort since the battle. He was shown a hiding place, barely four feet high, concealed beneath a trapdoor in the cupboard beside the fireplace. When the Parliamentarian troops arrived at the house the next day this is where the king concealed himself.

 

That night the king, disguised as a serving man, left Moseley on horseback on the first leg of his dangerous journey to safety on the Continent. Charles II did not forget assistance he received at Moseley Old Hall and on his restoration in 1660 the king gave Thomas Whitgreave an annuity of £200 per year, a large sum in those days. When he lay dying in 1685 it was John Huddleston that administered the last rites and received the King into the Catholic Church.

 

Moseley Old Hall was built in around 1600 by the merchant Henry Pitt. The Elizabethan house would have originally been half-timbered but in the 1870s the decaying facades were given a brick facing and the mullioned windows were replaced by casements.

 

However, inside the house much of the original panelling and timber framing is still visible. The front door opens into the main hall and opposite is the heavily studded orchard door through which the king entered. The King's Room on the first floor contains the four-poster bed in which Charles II slept and the hiding place where he took refuge. Off Thomas Whitegreave’s bedroom on the same floor is a little chamber over the front porch where the king watched his defeated troops struggling northward back to Scotland. Discreetly situated in the attics is the oratory which the king visited with John Huddleston. This is now adorned with an 18th century painted barrel ceiling. Mementoes of Charles II's visit are on display in the house including a proclamation dated 10 September 1651 offering a reward of £1,000 for the king's capture and a letter of thanks from Charles II to Jane Lane who helped him escape.

 

Most of the furnishings are not original to the house but they largely date from the 17th century and are such as might have been there when Charles II took refuge at Moseley. Contemporary portraits of the king and those how helped him give the house an authentic atmosphere.

 

When Moseley Old Hall was constructed it would have been in the remote Staffordshire countryside but today the house looks out on the suburbs of Wolverhampton, only yards away from the busy M54. Miraculously the 17th century atmosphere of the house is not disturbed by the noise of the motorway traffic.

 

The small garden and orchard at Moseley Old Hall have been reconstructed by the National Trust to a design of 1640. Only plants that existed in English gardens in the 17th century have been established. There is an elaborate knot garden and the orchard has been planted with old varieties of fruit trees. The path to the Nut Alley is fringed with quinces, medlars and mulberries and the herb garden is sheltered by box hedges

 

Please note:- All information relating to this article has been taken directly from the “tourUK” Web-site

 

If you would like to know more about the Civic Society, its aims and activities please contact our Secretary John Redshaw ~ Tel: -01902 851073