Thursday, 20 December 2012

East to the Old Hall

Eight miles east of Boscobel House is Moseley Old Hall, and just north of Wolverhampton. The Hall was built in 1600 by the Whitgreave family; Catholics and Royalists who lived at the Hall till 1925 (what a wonderful family), after which the timber-framed house was encased in brick by the new owners.
The photo above was taken inside the Hall's most famous priest hide. This hide was used by Charles II on 8th and 9th September 1651 (after the Battle of Worcester). The hide is under a closet on the first floor. It measures 5' x 4'9" x 3'6", so it is slightly larger than the hide at Boscobel.
It is interesting that the King was welcomed at the Hall by a Catholic priest, Fr Huddleston. After spending two nights in the hide the King and priest spent some of the following day sitting by the window which is directly over the front door of the house(photo below). From here they could see some of the battle-weary remnants of the Royal army making their way north. 
There are two other hides in the house. Both were most likely used for storing discrete material. The photo below was taken in the attic space on the second floor. It is certainly possible that a person could have hidden in here, although the original entrance is no longer in place.
Here again is the window over the entrance porch from which the King and the priest, looking out for pursuivants, saw soldiers of the Royal army, many of them wounded, making their way north and out of reach of the Parlimentarian army. The Hall is now owned by the National Trust and, although the brick exterior of the house is rather prosaic, the interior is wonderfully atmospheric.

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