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Moseley Old Hall

Moseley Old Hall Lane
Fordhouses
Wolverhampton
WV10 7HY

The old redbrick Elizabethan farmhouse known as Moseley Old Hall has seen many historic events during its 400-year history. Built by merchant Henry Pitt in 1600, Charles II was known to have used the priest's hole at Moseley Old Hall before escaping to the continent after his defeat.

On a sunny day it is hard to imagine the defeated king, disguised as a woodcutter, creeping through the gate at the end of Nut Alley after dark. The year was 1651 and the Royalist troops had been soundly defeated at the Battle of Worcester.

Visitors can retrace the king's footsteps as he was no doubt silently admitted to the back door of the house by the loyalist owner, Thomas Whitgreave, supported by John Huddlestone, his chaplain. Imagine them climbing quietly up the stairs by candlelight and showing Charles II to his hiding place, now renamed the King's Room.

No doubt the king sipped a glass of wine as he rested his sore feet beneath the drapes of the same four-poster bed, alert for any sound which would prompt him to drop through the trapdoor incorporated in the cupboard into a space so tiny he would not have been able to stand upright. Two nights later the Parliamentarians came, and that tiny hidden priest's hole saved the king's life.

After the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 the king remembered Thomas Whitgreaves' loyalty and awarded him a £200 per year - a huge sum back then. There were further connections between the king and Moseley Old Hall as it was the same chaplain, John Huddlestone, who was called to the king's bedside to administer the last rites before he died in 1685.

A guided tour of this authentic farmhouse will reveal many other points of interest. The 17th century panelling and the outline of the original timber framing can still be seen, although the wattle and daub walls were filled in with brick in the 1870s when the casement windows were added.

The unusual attic space, once the oratory, with its decorative barrel ceiling is where a collection of Royalist mementoes is on display to delight both royalists and historians. A proclamation offering £1000 for the king's capture and a letter of thanks from Charles II to a supporter illustrate the daring tale of the king's refuge and escape. Portraits of the king and his supporters add to the interesting study.

Outside, the small recreated orchard and elaborate Elizabethan-style knot garden have returned the gardens to the 17th century era. The path leading to Nut Alley is fringed with mulberry bushes and the delightful herb garden is outlined with neat box hedges, much as it would have been for the king's visit.

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Directions

Location:
4 miles north of Wolverhampton City Centre

Bus Services:
Travel West Midlands 533 from Wolverhampton, Arriva Midlands 7 from Cannock, both ½ mile.

Cycling:
View local cycle routes on the National Cycle Network website.

By Road:
South of M54 between A449 and A460; from north on M6 leave at exit 11, then A460; from south on M6 and M54 take exit 1; coaches must approach via A460 to avoid low bridge.

By Train:
Wolverhampton 4 miles

Ordnance Survey Reference:
127:SJ932044

Moseley Old Hall Postcode for SatNav: WV10 7HY

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+44 (0)1902 782 808
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