Shifnal Manor 6666

Shifnal, England, Shropshire

Brief Description

Shifnal Manor featured formal gardens and a park.

History

In 1635, Shifnal Manor was a complex, multi-phased building surrounded by formal grounds and a park. A gazebo of the late 16th century suggests the earliest date of the gardens. At this time, the Earl of Shrewsbury undertook major improvements to the house, and presumably also the grounds. In 1635, the manor house lay within a park, although disparkment seems to have been complete by 1752. Parts of the 1635 house burnt down in the 1970s, and the fabric of the present Manor is principally of the mid-18th century and later.

Detailed Description

In 1635, Shifnal Manor, which occupied a south-facing spur of land a mile south-east of Shifnal town centre, was a complex, multi-phase quadrangular building arranged around a courtyard. The house looked southwards onto a formal, walled garden with parterres featuring low clipped box hedges. Beyond the garden was a formal canal and a wilderness. At the centre of the gardens was a heart-shaped pond, an emblem of the Catholic sympathies of either the Earl of Shrewsbury, or his successor Anne Dacre, the Dowager Countess of Arundel. In the centre of the south wall of the garden stood a gazebo. The gazebo, along with stretches of associated terrace walks and steps, still survives. The two-storey gazebo is octagonal, and built of brick with sandstone ashlar dressings. It has a tile ogee roof with a lead finial.

Also surviving, at least as earthworks, are some of the pools, ponds, and channels which lay both along the stream bordering the site to the east and west, and which lay below the formal garden.

At the time of the 1635 survey, Shifnal Manor lay within a park. However, it appears that it was difficult to manage even from early on. In 1597, the Earl of Shrewsbury's steward complained that 'the deer die in this park at this present and so soon as they be dead the poor folks [of Shifnal] carry them to the town and eat them.' Seven years later, parts of the park were being farmed, and over 50 of the herd of 250 had died from lack of feed. The pale was also rotting, and poachers were rife. Full disparkment had apparently taken place by 1752, as it is not on Rocque's map of Shropshire of that date.

Features
  • Gazebo
  • Description: An octagonal gazebo lies on the south wall of the garden. It is built of brick with sandstone ashlar dressings, two storeys tall, and has a tile ogee roof with a lead finial.
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  • Terrace
  • Description: There were terrace walks and steps associated with the gazebo and garden walls.
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  • Parterre
  • Description: A parterre lay to the south of the house, featuring formal clipped box hedges.
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  • Canal
  • Description: A canal lay beyond the formal garden.
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  • Wilderness
  • Description: A wilderness lay beyond the formal garden.
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  • Pool
  • Description: A heart-shaped pool lay at the centre of the formal gardens, symbolizing the owners' Catholic sympathies.
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  • Water Feature
  • Description: Pools, ponds, and channels lay both along the stream which bordered the site to the east and west, as well as below the formal garden. They survive as earthworks.
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Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Shifnal
History

Period

  • Tudor (1485-1603)
References

References