A listing of the places I have visited (or simply passed through) mainly in my time of driving other people's cars for a living. Being an automotive journalist helps a lot.
Tuesday, 21 February 2017
Dudmaston Hall - Shropshire
About an hour from where we live, near to one of our favourite towns to visit - Bridgnorth - is the village of Quatt and the estate that is know as Dudmaston Hall.
Relatives of the Wolryche family have been in residence on the estate since 1403. Either directly or sometimes convolutedly the estate remained in family hands until it became the responsibility of the National Trust.
Some good things happened over the centuries, but also a lot of what could go wrong, did.
The house that had been on the site since the 15th century was replaced by a fortified manor house some 100 years later. Family fortunes seemed to be rising when the title of Baronet was awarded to the family by King Charles I in 1641.
John Wolrych took over the estate in 1668 and began to built what is known as the Dower House, Quatt in 1685, but it was never finished in his lifetime. Eventually an effort was made to build a new sandstone grand house, but mismanagement and bad debts took their toll. Eventually Mary Wolryche took over in 1723 and she seemed to be the sensible member of the family. The house was restored and then completed and a period of development grew.
William Whitmore took over and in 1774 he commissioned the development of the gardens to what we see today. The Quatt Brook was diverted and the ground landscaped to form a lake. The gardens were developed formally and much of the estate was turned to farming, which it still is.
The grounds are attractive in their own right. The hall houses what the National Trust describe as one of the finest art exhibitions in the country.